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Tissue Freeze Drying – Photocrosslinkable Extracellular Matrices for Re-creating an In Vivo Environment in Research

Bowman Bagley Bowman Bagley is the CEO of Advanced BioMatrix. He is responsible for developing and executing the company’s business strategies including product and business development, marketing, and quality assurance.

Bowman has helped develop innovative new product lines such as Lifeink® pure collagen bioinks and the Photo® series of photocrosslinkable extracellular matrices.

Bowman graduated from Brigham Young University with a B.S. in Neuroscience and minor in Business Management. After working at Advanced BioMatrix for a few years, he returned to school while working and graduated with a Master’s in Business Administration from the University of Utah. Bowman’s desire to combine his knowledge of business and science led him to work at Advanced BioMatrix where he believes he can introduce products to the market that will allow researchers to make life-saving discoveries.


The rigidity (stiffness) of the substrate to which cells adhere can have a profound effect on cell propagation, differentiation, lineage specification, gene expression, morphology, self-renewal, pluripotency and migration.

Hydrogels where the mechanical microenvironment can be tuned to provide an in vivo-like environment are desirable.  Natural hydrogels from proteins such as collagen or other extracellular matrix components such as glucosaminoglycans are of special interest due to their biocompatibility and resemblance to the human body.

Methacrylation is a common chemical modification allowing natural ECM’s to become “tunable” via photocrosslinking.

The most common methods used for tuning substrate stiffness with these modified ECM’s include adjusting:

  • ECM concentration
  • Degree of methacrylation
  • Type of photoinitiator
  • Photoinitiator concentration
  • Photocrosslinking time, intensity or wavelength

By adjusting these various “knobs,” researchers have been able to create 3D hydrogels of various stiffness covering the physiologically relevant range (0.2 kPa – 130 kPa).

Being able to use native-like extracellular matrices (ie. collagen and hyaluronic acid), while tuning the stiffness to match a physiologically relevant stiffness, allows researchers to create 3D hydrogels that more closely replicate an in vivo environment.


  1. Tunable, native-like ECM’s provide a more natural environment in both composition and stiffness.
  2. Available tunable biomaterials include collagen, gelatin, hyaluronic acid, dextran, and alginate.
  3. Lyophilization of tunable biomaterials creates a customizable product by allowing resuspension at various concentrations.

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