Creating Toolboxes for 4D Cell Culture Systems
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Please join us for camaraderie, and to learn more about innovative biomaterials, surface analysis, and microscopy techniques!

When: Wednesday, January 22, 2020
5:00 PM
Where: Buca di Beppo
2728 Gannon Road
St. Paul, Minnesota 
United States
Contact: Ingrid Beamsley

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Dinner and Discussion Meeting


5:00 pm Social 

6:00 pm Dinner 

6:30 pm Presentation

Creating Toolboxes for 4D Cell Culture Systems

Sally McArthur

Swinburne University of Technology and CSIRO, Australia



Cost: $25 to cover the cost of your food and drink 

Pay online now or bring cash or check onsite

Students encouraged to attend! - only $10/student


 This meeting is cosponsored by the Surfaces in Biomaterials Foundation, 

the Minnesota Chapter of AVS, and the Minnesota Microscopy Society


Creating Toolboxes for 4D Cell Culture Systems


Zay Yar Oo, Aleta Pupovac, Sorel de Leon, Daniel Langley, Geva Hilzenrat, Charlie West, Anu Sabu and Sally L McArthur 


Bioengineering Research Group, Swinburne University of Technology, Hawthorn, 3122, Victoria, Australia and CSIRO Manufacturing, Bayview Ave, Clayton, 3168, Victoria, Australia


This talk will discuss the tools and systems we are using to investigate and validate the materials, sensors and construction principles required for reproducible, scalable and monitored 4D in vitro cell culture systems.


The conventional approach to cell culture uses 2D surfaces to attach and grow cells on tissue culture polystyrene (TCPS). These systems are used to examine the fundamental biological pathways of disease, evaluate the cytotoxicity of biomaterials, explore biochemical pathways and model wound healing (to name just a few). While these systems are central to much of our current research paradigm, it is well established that they fail to reproduce many of the cell-cell signalling and external cues experienced by cells in tissue.1


There is an increasing movement internationally towards replacing, reducing and refining animal testing including the EU Directive on the protection of animals used for scientific purposes (EU Directive 2010/63/EU).  It is clear that there is and will continue to be increasing demand for reproducible and predictable 3D in vitro models that effectively replicate the tissue of interest. These systems need to

  • replicate specific physical and biochemical aspects of the biological system.
  • be readily manipulated to address specific research questions or target specific biological pathways
  • be reproducible, scalable and critically, validated against the gold standards.


Scaffold-based models, based on tissue engineering knowledge, use both synthetic and natural materials to create a 3D framework to support cell attachment and growth. Examples include tissue engineered skin models built around decellurised tissue or collagen-1.6


There is also the opportunity to integrate from the earliest inception both in situ (ie embedded biosensors, reporter constructs, imaging) and ex situ tools (chemical spectroscopy, in silico models, imaging modalities). These sensing systems enable real-time monitoring of the behaviour both during preparation and use, creating a 4th dimension to the cell culture systems. It is only with the development and incorporation of these tools that we can expect to develop systems that are validated, reproducible and scalable and thus implementable across the Medical Technology and Pharmaceutical sectors.


ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS: This work is funded via the CSIRO Research+ Science Leader program



1.  N. Alépée, Altex (2014).

2.  M. R. Carvalho, D. Lima, R. L. Reis, V. M. Correlo and J. M. Oliveira, Trends Biotechnol 33 (11), 667-678 (2015).

3.  D. W. Hutmacher, B. M. Holzapfel, E. M. De-Juan-Pardo, B. A. Pereira, S. J. Ellem, D. Loessner and G. P. Risbridger, Current Opinion in Biotechnology 35, 127-132 (2015).

4.  K. Wrzesinski, M. C. Magnone, L. V. Hansen, et al, Toxicol Res-UK 2 (3), 163-172 (2013).

5.  L. D. Shultz, M. A. Brehm, J. V. Garcia-Martinez and D. L. Greiner, Nat Rev Immunol 12 (11), 786-798 (2012).

6.  N. Linde, C. M. Gutschalk, C. Hoffmann, D. Yilmaz and M. M. Mueller, PLOS One 7 (7) (2012).




Sally McArthur is a Professor of Biomedical Engineering at Swinburne University of Technology and a CSIRO Research+ Science Leader in Biomaterials.


As an engineering researcher Sally has obtained approximately $22M in funding from research councils, industry and government in the UK and Australia. As a CSIRO Science Leader, Sally leads a team developing 4D Cell Culture Systems for biomaterials evaluation and testing. Based on tissue engineered models, her team aims to develop the materials, devices, monitoring tools and verification methods required to take and translate these systems from the lab to industrial application.

Sally is passionate about exploring new ways to link industry and academia. She is the Regional Director of the National Medical Device Partnering Program (MDPP). The program is an ideas incubator that supports inventors to turn their medical or assistive device ideas into proven concepts.  We provide early stage development support to help de-risk, refine and develop ideas into commercially and technically viable prototypes. We do this by partnering clients with a community of experts including end-users and clinicians, manufacturers, service providers and world-class research partners and specialist facilities.


Sally is currently a Director the AVS, a Society of Science and Technology of Materials, Interfaces and Processing ( and the Editor of the journal Biointerphases (


Sally has been at Swinburne University of Technology in Melbourne, Australia since 2008 and commenced her academic career at The University of Sheffield in the UK in 2002 after completing her Post-Doctoral Studies at the University of Washington in Seattle USA. She obtained her PhD in 2000 from the University of New South Wales working with contact lens manufacturer Ciba Vision and CSIRO. She obtained her MEng Sci (Biomedical Engineering) and B.Eng (Materials Engineering) from Monash University.

Twitter: @mca178

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