Scanning probe-enabled nanocombinatorics define the relationship between fibronectin feature size and stem cell fate

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  • External authors:
  • Louise R. Giam
  • Matthew D. Massich
  • Liangliang Hao
  • Christopher C. Mader
  • Chad A. Mirkin


We report the development of a powerful analytical method that utilizes a tilted elastomeric pyramidal pen array in the context of a scanning probe lithography experiment to rapidly prepare libraries having as many as 25 million features over large areas with a range of feature sizes from the nano- to microscale. This technique can be used to probe important chemical and biological processes, opening up the field of nanocombinatorics. In a proof-of-concept investigation of mesenchymal stem cell (MSC) differentiation, combinatorial patterns first enabled a rapid and systematic screening of MSC adhesion, as a function of feature size, while uniform patterns were used to study differentiation with statistically significant sample sizes. Without media containing osteogenic-inducing chemical cues, cells cultured on nanopatterned fibronectin substrates direct MSC differentiation towards osteogenic fates when compared to nonpatterned fibronectin substrates. This powerful and versatile approach enables studies of many systems spanning biology, chemistry, and engineering areas.

Bibliographical metadata

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4377-4382
Number of pages5
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 20 Mar 2012