MASTERS WINNER OF THE EXCEPTIONAL RESEARCH AWARD

Decellularized cabbage leaves: a scaffold-based in vitro adipose tissue model

Maddalena Bracchi

In this thesis the author tests savoy cabbage and black cabbage as potential scaffolds for 3D in vitro models to study adipogenesis and adipocyte differentiation. 

A reviewer described this thesis as ‘beautiful, rigorous work,’ writing, ‘finding effective and scalable scaffolds for cultivated meat production is not a neglected niche, but it remains a challenge in this industry…All in all, this work could potentially provide a basis for the production of novel cultivated meat products or lead to the development of more sophisticated scaffolds.’

Researcher profile

Maddalena Bracchi

Maddalena graduated in Biomedical Engineering – Biomechanics and Biomaterials from Politecnico di Milano in April. Maddalena is now a PhD student in Converging Technologies for Biomolecular Systems at Università degli Studi Milano Bicocca and plans to work in biomedical research in future.

Researcher profile

What was your thesis topic?

For over a century, in vitro models of physiological tissues were based on two-
dimensional monolayer cell cultures which allow to study cell responses to
stimulations but not the natural cell-cell and cell-extracellular matrix interactions. For
this reason, nowadays, 3D cell culture platforms are being proposed to better mimic
in vivo conditions. In these 3D models, a scaffold is used to support cell growth and
function, and it should be optimized to match the native tissue ECM.
In my thesis, decellularized cabbages were used as scaffold to reproduce in vitro
adipose tissue, to study adipogenesis and adipocyte differentiation; chemical,
physical, mechanical, and biological characterizations were performed to validate
this model.

In what ways do you think your topic improves the world?

I hope it will be useful for improving knowledge in the field of regenerative medicine,
especially the development of more realistic in vitro models to avoid animal
sacrifice. In addition, I think that this research could be a basis to produce novel
cultivated meat products.

In what ways have you changed your mind since you finished writing it?

After this thesis, I am even more convinced of wanting to deepen and work in this
area.

What recommendations would you make to others interested in taking a similar direction with their research?

Not give up despite the failures, because the results will arrive sooner or later!

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