Sound Research: Scientific Innovations Harness Noise and Acoustics for Healing

Hanae Armitage

… Heart cells are among the most densely packed in the body — about 100 million fit into a space the size of a sugar cube. The compact structure crams the cells so close together that they can communicate with one another and beat as one lump. For tissue engineers, however, it poses a tricky hurdle: Pack the cells too tightly and some wonʼt get proper nutrients; too loosely and they canʼt coordinate a beat.

… Utkan Demirci and Sean Wu use acoustics to manipulate heart cells into intricate patterns. A simple change in frequency and amplitude puts the cells in motion, guides them to a new position and holds them in place.

… Wu and Demirci think acoustic engineering could help foster more realistic cardiac disease modeling and drug screening. More distantly, but still on the horizon, the pair even see their generated tissue as an option for heart patches in patients who have weak cardiac walls or have damage from a heart attack.

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