What you see pictured to the right are called naked liquid marbles. What’s fascinating about these pinky wonders is their application in the world of nerve cell regeneration.
Boffins at Australia’s Griffith University have provisionally patented their use for a quicker, more effective and cost-effective method to grow cells that can be used to aid nerve repair.
Well, if you place a droplet of liquid on a superhydrophobic plate, it forms a perfect ball. Then if you add cells to the liquid, those cells form interactions with other cells in a “more natural way”, thanks to the 3D environment. That means the scientists can grow larger cell constructs which have a greater chance of survival when subsequently transplanted into a spinal cord.