Géraldine Guex
AO Research Institute Davos


Sound and Electricity to Steer Cell Fate Decision


In tissue engineering, material-based drug delivery, or biomaterials development, major emphasis lies on the design of a target-specific and fine-tuned biointerface to control cell fate decision via material properties. This is further complemented with various biofabrication techniques and advanced cell culture methods. Key to success within these projects are interdisciplinary teams and approaches in the field of nanoscience, where biology, chemistry and physics meet. During this talk I will present how electricity or sound can be leveraged to induce a specific cell response. First, I will present how electronic ion pump-based delivery of protons is a promising approach to fight fibrosis during skin wound healing. Proton delivery was shown to lower the pH in a controlled manner, which reduced fibroblast to myofibroblast transition- the main hallmark of fibrosis.1 Secondly, I will talk about our recent work on using sound waves to spatially control cells in hydrogels and assemble them into defined patterns.2 By increasing the local cell density within patterns, cell-cell contacts are enhanced, leading to tissue formation at lower initial cell concentration than conventional methods.
1. Guex et al., Applied Materials Today, 2021, 22:100936.
2. Petta et al., Biofabrication, 2021, 13:015004.


Géraldine Guex graduated with a Master of Science in Nanosciences from the University of Basel and obtained her PhD from the University of Bern in the field of cardiac tissue engineering. She then moved to Imperial College London with an SNSF Postdoc Mobility Fellowship to investigate conductive polymers for bone tissue engineering. Upon her return to Switzerland, Géraldine worked as a Scientist at Empa in St. Gallen where she developed new material-based approaches to address fibrotic or infected skin wounds. Since spring 2020, she has been a Research Scientist at the AO Research Institute in Davos, exploiting different biofabrication methods to steer cell fate decision and in vitro tissue formation.