Project title: Design and applications of psuedo three-dimensional cell-culture substrates fabricated using nuclear methods

In vitro experiments rely heavily on tissue culture, e.g., to study the cell differentiation, proliferation and function, etc. These in vitro experiments usually involve flat culture substrates, e.g., through the use of Petri-dishes and flasks, and are thus convenient for routine growth of cells. However, such conventional cell culture will normally generate only two-dimensional (2D) cell monolayers. Such 2D monolayers will lead to highly abnormal geometric and mechanical pressures on many types of cells, which are far from the realistic conditions and complexities of three-dimensional (3D) tissues. We have successfully fabricated three-dimensional (3D) substrates by creating micrometer-size pores on polyallyldiglycol carbonate (or PADC) polymer films through irradiation of the film by alpha particles and subsequent chemical etching. HeLa cells cultured on these 3D substrates were observed using scanning electron microscope. Multiple directions and multiple layers of HeLa cells were observed to have grown in the pores, with normal nuclei and cell membranes as well as good cell spreading. This project will explore further designs and applications of these 3D substrates.


Ng, C.K.M., Yu, K.N., 2012. Proliferation of epithelial cells on PDMS substrates with micropillars fabricated with different curvature characteristics. Biointerphases 7, 1-4, 21.


Ng, C.K.M., Tjhin, V.T., Lin, A.C.C., Cheng, J.P., Cheng, S.H., Yu, K.N., 2012. Fabrication of substrates with curvature for cell cultivation by alpha-particle irradiation and chemical etching of PADC films. Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research B 278, 15-19.

Supervisor : Prof Peter K N Yu (

Suitable for: M.Phil. or Ph.D.

A good degree in nuclear physics, biophysics or biology