2023-102 A Dynamic Cholesteric Liquid Crystal for Organoid, Spheroid, 3D Cell Aggregate Manufacturing


UCLA and University of Connecticut researchers have engineered a novel liquid-crystal-based biomaterial with a simple fabrication process for organoid, spheroid and 3D cell aggregate manufacturing that enables rapid cell growth. 


The current waiting list for people who need a lifesaving organ transplant is over 100,000 cases in the United States alone. There is a huge demand in meeting this number, and the gap can continue to expand. The most reliable cure for end-stage failure of essential organs, such as kidney, lung, and heart, is transplantation. Tissue engineering has offered a potential way to treat the conditions mentioned above, and engineering cell-laden scaffolds in 3D has been a crucial step in achieving tissue engineering therapies. Hydrogels are broadly explored materials for fabricating the cellular in vivo environments in 3D, but their diffusion capability is severely diminished with increased bulk size, resulting in cell death within the depth of the construct. More recently, liquid crystalline materials have been applied to address challenges to create a biomimetic interface that mimics native tissue and organ structures. The cytotoxicity of the majority of commercially available liquid crystals is the first hurdle when incorporating them into the tissue engineering scaffolds. Some notable achievements have been made in the field, but these liquid crystal-based scaffolds in the studies were primarily lab-scaled samples and unsuitable for biomedical implantation. There is an urgent need for biocompatible liquid crystal materials and technologies that are commercially suitable for the development of dynamic and responsive interfaces for tissue engineering.


Professor Paul Weiss and his research team have designed and fabricated a nonwoven cholesteryl ester liquid crystal scaffold that can provide a promising platform for the development of dynamic and responsive interfaces for tissue engineering. This novel biomaterial can be simply fabricated with electrospinning techniques, and its mesophase temperature is tuned to coincide with that of the cell culture incubator (36-40 °C). The newly designed cholesteryl ester-based liquid crystal has robust mechanical properties, great biocompatibility, and favorable wettability. Applying this innovation as the tissue engineering substrate can effectively enhance cellular attachment and proliferation: less than 5 hours of culture time are needed for multiple types of seeded cells to grow into large cellular aggregates. Furthermore, the developed scaffold can create an ideal biomimetic interface that recapitulates mechanics seen in the native extracellular matrix. Additionally, this material and the fabrication methods can be easily applied to other medical device systems, such as surgical grafting applications and drug delivery device.

Potential Applications:

•    Scaffolds for tissue engineering
•    3D-organoid/spheroid growth
•    Surgical grafting applications
•    Medical implantations
•    Drug delivery device


•    Fast cellular growth (< 5 hrs)
•    Simple to fabricate
•    Great biocompatibility
•    Robust mechanical properties
•    Tunable material properties

Development to Date:

First successful demonstration of the invention: Feb/12/2022.

Related Papers: 

Cholesteryl Ester Liquid Crystal Nanofibers for Tissue Engineering Applications”, Nasajpour, A., Mostafavi, A., Chlanda, A., Rinoldi, C., Sharifi, S., Ji, S., M., Ye, M., Jonas, J., S., Swieszkowski, W., Weiss, S., P., Khademhosseini, A., and Tamayol, A., ACS Mater. Lett., 2020, 2, 1067-1073.


1) Nasajpour, A., Weiss, P.S., (2020). “DEVICES COMPRISING A LIQUID CRYSTAL LAYER AND USES THEREOF” U.S. World Intellectual Property WO 2022/120120 A1, published filed June 09, 2022 

2) Weiss, P.S., Nasajpour, A., Tamayol, A., (2020). “LIQUID CRYSTAL-BASED SCAFFOLDS AND USE THEREOF” U.S. World Intellectual Property WO 2022/020752 A1, published filed July 27, 2022

Reference: UCLA Case No. 2023-102 

Lead Inventors:  Dr. Amir Nasajpour; Prof. Paul S. Weiss; Prof. Ali Tamayol

Patent Information:
For More Information:
Megha Patel
Business Development Officer
Paul Weiss
Amir Nasajpour
Ali Tamayol
Mohamadmahdi Samandari