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Chrisoula Chappell, PhD candidate

University of Manchester, UK


Chrisoula originally studied biomedical science with a year spent at an NHS hospital. Her placement was at The Christie Cancer NHS Hospital, and she specialized in haematology and stem cell transplantation. Her undergraduate project was focused on the reliability of the ADVIA machine and whether it provided consistent full blood count results. Once she completed her four-year undergraduate course she then went and enrolled onto her master’s course and specialized in skeletal muscle cell differentiation and nanotechnology. Her project focused on the skeletal muscle differentiation and the effect of silica loaded nanoparticles on those cells. Whilst completing her master’s by research, she was working as a project manager for the environment team.

After the completion of her masters she transferred to the University of Manchester where she started on my MPhil. Her project predominantly covered the change in mechanical properties of the hydrogel gelatin methacrylate by incorporating silica nanoparticles and it also looked at the cell viability of 3T3 mouse fibroblast cells on the gel. Once she transferred onto her PhD she used the same hydrogel but she wanted to look closely at the differentiation of human adipose derived stem cells within it whilst also encouraging artificial vascularisation.

Learn about Chrisoula’s research

Title: Investigation of endothelial cell viability and growth on 3D printed GelMA vascular networks

Learning objectives:

  • Understand what vascularisation is
  • Understand what hydrogels and scaffolds are and how they are used
  • Understand the use of 3D printing and how it can help with tissue regeneration

A major limitation for the development of 3D engineered tissues is the absence of viable and perfusable vasculature. As a precursor to vascularized adipose tissue, cylindrical channels were formed in a cast gelatin methacrylate (GelMA) construct by printing sacrificial networks of Pluronic F127. Human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs) were seeded and cultured within the 3D printed channels, while adipose-derived stem cells (ADSCs) were cultured in the GelMA prior to casting the 3D printed channels.

The hydrogel was characterized by NMR, surface tension, contact angle and DMA. Pluronic filaments were printed onto glass slides using a robotic printer I&J 7300-LF (Fishnar, UK). HUVECs (PromoCell, UK) were cultured on GelMA substrate, whilst ADSCs (Thermo Fisher Scientific) were embedded within the GelMA. LIVE/DEAD and alamarBlue assays were used to assess the cells’ viability and proliferation respectively. Phalloidin staining was used to assess actin cytoskeleton organization.

RESULTS: Once methacrylation has occurred NMR peaks are seen at 6ppm and 2ppm corresponding to lysine and methacrylated grafts of hydroxyl groups. Viability assays confirmed that HUVECs and ADSCs were viable after 48 hours. alamarBlue data indicated an increase in cell metabolism over a 7-day period. Phalloidin staining demonstrated good organization of the actin cytoskeleton of HUVECs on GelMA. Data on HUVECs injected within the printed 2D networks and 3D culture of ADSCs within the GelMA matrix will also be presented.

DISCUSSION &CONCLUSIONS: Collectively, our data illustrate that HUVECs could potentially grow and fully line the printed networks.

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Get to know Chrisoula

Why did you choose cancer research?
I chose a career in research because I loved lab work and I had a passion for solving things. Since my undergraduate years I also wanted to work with stem cells, as those cells can be programmed to encourage regeneration of lost tissue.

What motivates you to succeed in your field?
My motivation comes from my outreach activities. Explaining the science to people and school children who have no idea of what your field does, encourages me to succeed in my job.

What are your top 3 favorite things to do outside of the lab?
I enjoy running, rock climbing and swimming.

Describe yourself with 3 words:
Versatile, enthusiastic and easy going.

On your days off, what do you do?
I enjoy going for hikes and spending time with my son and husky.

Who is the person you are closest with?
My son and one day I hope to influence him enough to go into a STEM career.

If you could choose any other career what would it be? Why?
I would be an A&E doctor as I love to work in a vibrant environment and I like working with people.

What is your favorite day of your life thus far?
Two days really; when I gave birth to my son and when I succeeded in obtaining funding for my PhD.

What role have the mentors you’ve had in your passion for basic research?
My mentors have always been very supportive but they have also let me be in charge of my own project and that has led to me becoming more independent. This allowed me to solve problems that would have otherwise been more difficult.

I want to be the next Gibco Cell Culture Hero

As a Gibco Cell Culture Hero you will be a part of a growing community of global PhD and postdoc researchers who promote education and drive tomorrow's breakthroughs.

Complete the form below for a chance to present your research to a global audience via webinar, share your story of success and perseverance to the world on thermofisher.com.

Must be a PhD or postdoc using cell culture to apply. Must be passionate about communicating science within your social media networks.

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