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1st Place, 2009

Fat! In the Right Places!

Vandana Keskar, Biopharmaceutical Sciences

The focus of my dissertation research has been to develop a highly macroporous tissue engineering scaffold that would enable stem cell viability and differentiation. The stem cells used in my project are human mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs), a type of adult stem cells.

One of the many tests that are carried out to confirm the isolation of a stem cell population from whole human bone marrow, is to test the multipotency of the cells. Multipotency is the ability of MSCs to be differentiated to adipocytes (fat), chondrocytes (cartilage) and osteoblasts (bone). Shown in the image are the MSCs cultivated on tissue culture plates that have been induced to adipocytes, which is detected by the presence of fat or lipid vacuoles. The lipid vacuoles have been stained with a lipophillic dye, Sudan III, which stains lipids red / deep orange. Harris hematoxylin solution was used to counterstain the cells purple. Brightfield images were taken on the Olympus IX70 Inverted Microscope in our lab.