Big Idea: Using plant leaves as scaffolding to grow human cells

Murphy’s team found that leaf structures not only have an “incredible ability” for mass transport, moving and expelling fluids rapidly and efficiently from one end to the other, but that human cells pattern themselves in the same aligned and structured direction as the plant tissue.

Wisconsin’s best-known naturalist, John Muir (who took his first botany class at UW–Madison), said that when one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the universe. Biomedical engineering professor William Murphy felt that pull one spring day in 2014 from his office chair, staring at the Lakeshore Nature Preserve while contemplating the tiny, highly processed chips he’d been developing to grow microscale human tissues. Read the full Article here.