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Honorable Mention, 2010

Cave of Eternity

Maryam Shafiq

The corneal epithelium, essential for the integrity and clarity of the cornea, is constantly regenerated by limbal stem cells. These limbal stem cells are present in a specialized region called limbus located between cornea and sclera in the form of crypts. Upon injury these cells proliferate and migrate out of the crypts and differentiate into corneal epithelial cells. The focus of my dissertation research has been to induce limbal crypt formation in decellularized corneas.

Human cadaver cornea was primary fixed with gluteraldehyde and paraformaldehyde. For secondary fixation, the sample was incubated in osmium tetraoxide followed by dehydration in graded ethanol. The sample was then critical point dried and mounted on aluminum Stub. It was then coated with gold/palladium and images were taken with scanning electron microscope (JOEL 5600LV SEM) at Electron Microscope Lab in the east campus of UIC.