Issue 24, 2020

Biomaterials-based approaches to model embryogenesis


Understanding, reproducing, and regulating the cellular and molecular processes underlying human embryogenesis is critical to improve our ability to recapitulate tissues with proper architecture and function, and to address the dysregulation of embryonic programs that underlies birth defects and cancer. The rapid emergence of stem cell technologies is enabling enormous progress in understanding embryogenesis using simple, powerful, and accessible in vitro models. Biomaterials are playing a central role in providing the spatiotemporal organisation of biophysical and biochemical signalling necessary to mimic, regulate and dissect the evolving embryonic niche in vitro. This contribution is rapidly improving our understanding of the mechanisms underlying embryonic patterning, in turn enabling the development of more effective clinical interventions for regenerative medicine and oncology. Here we highlight how key biomaterial approaches contribute to organise signalling in human embryogenesis models, and we summarise the biological insights gained from these contributions. Importantly, we highlight how nanotechnology approaches have remained largely untapped in this space, and we identify their key potential contributions.

Graphical abstract: Biomaterials-based approaches to model embryogenesis

Article information

Article type
Review Article
03 Sep 2020
24 Oct 2020
First published
26 Oct 2020
This article is Open Access
Creative Commons BY license

Biomater. Sci., 2020,8, 6992-7013

Biomaterials-based approaches to model embryogenesis

C. Spiteri, V. Caprettini and C. Chiappini, Biomater. Sci., 2020, 8, 6992 DOI: 10.1039/D0BM01485K

This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported Licence. You can use material from this article in other publications without requesting further permissions from the RSC, provided that the correct acknowledgement is given.

Read more about how to correctly acknowledge RSC content.

Social activity