Yeast DNA & Dr. Cotton Candy

Dash Masland was a marine biologist who switched over to beer brewing, using her scientific background to create artworks of the genetic barcodes of the different yeast strains used in various breweries. Over at Vanderbilt University, the Bellan research group is making strides in regenerative medicine using cotton candy and gelatin. What we’re reading…

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Cotton candy machines could help us make life-sized artificial organs
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By Josh Hrala

The ability to accurately create artificial organs in the lab would change the world in ways we can’t even imagine, but creating artificial capillaries - the tiny blood vessels that carry oxygen-rich nutrients to our organs and then scrub away the waste - has been one of the main road blocks. These vital networks of tiny tunnels are simply too small for current moulds to recreate, but scientists in the US think they’ve come up with a way to solve this problem: cotton candy machines.

Yes, the same machine that spins sugar into delicious puffs of childhood wonder might help us save countless lives thanks to its unique ability to produce intricate networks that are perfect for recreating capillary systems.

“The analogies everyone uses to describe electrospun fibres are that they look like silly string, or Cheese Whiz, or cotton candy,” said one of the team, engineer Leon Bellan from Vanderbilt University.


Cotton Candy Machines May Hold Key for Making Artificial Organs

Bellan and colleagues report that they have succeeded in using this unorthodox technique to produce a three-dimensional artificial capillary system that can keep living cells viable and functional for more than a week, which is a dramatic improvement over current methods.

The research is in Advanced Healthcare Materials. (full access paywall)


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