Columbia University

Technology Ventures

Tunable fibrous scaffold for cell expansion

Technology #cu14178

This technology is a fibrous cell culture platform with tunable stiffness and surface composition to improve expansion of T-cells and stem cells.

Unmet Need: Cell culture platform with biomimetic rigidity and architecture

The rigidity and topography of cell culture surfaces have been shown to directly influence cell signaling and phenotype in numerous cell types, including T-cells and stem cells. Yet most cell culture occurs on flat, rigid tissue culture plastic that can be 200-1000× stiffer than native tissue Thus, there is a need for the development of more physiologically relevant cell culture systems that better mimic native tissue properties to improve modulation of cell behavior in vitro.

The Technology: Fibrous scaffold with tunable rigidity for optimized cell activation

This technology describes a fibrous, three-dimensional cell culture platform with customizable topography and rigidity. Scaffolds are fabricated by a process called electrospinning, in which nano-sized fibers are drawn from a polymer solution. The polymer chemical composition, and electrospinning parameters can be readily adjusted to customize scaffold size, shape, and stiffness and generate biomimetic cell culture surfaces. Furthermore, the scaffold can be functionalized with surface proteins to direct cell activity. This technology can be used for studying immune cell activation for research and adoptive therapy applications as well as for the expansion and differentiation of other cell types, such as stem cells.

Fibrous scaffolds of varying stiffness have been generated using the methods described in this technology, and T-cells cultured on these scaffolds have been shown to be capable of undergoing proliferation and activation.


  • Expansion of T-cells for laboratory research or clinical applications
  • Expansion and differentiation of stem cells for laboratory research or clinical applications
  • Expansion and activation of other cell types that require membrane protein activation
  • Platform for mechanotransduction research


  • Tunable surface rigidity
  • Better mimic native tissue properties
  • Can be functionalized with surface coatings
  • Improve cell expansion and activation of immune cells

Lead Inventor:

Lance Kam, Ph.D.

Patent Information:

Patent Pending (US 20170029767)

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