Cytocentric Blog

Top 5 Cytocentric Papers of 2016

In this post we highlight the top publications of 2016 that illustrate the Cytocentric approach to cell and tissue culture. Here I specifically excluded papers in the field of Immunology because we will soon be publishing a separate post to highlight Cytocentric Immunology papers of 2016. Let’s count down the best of 2016:



Low Oxygen Modulates Multiple Signaling Pathways Increasing Self-Renewal while Decreasing Differentiation, Senescence and Apoptosis in Stromal MIAMI Cells.This paper in Stem Cells and Development [1] (paywalled), Rios et al pull together multiple pathways affected by culture oxygen levels in a subtype of immature MSC called marrow-isolated adult multilineage inducible (MIAMI) cells. Their comparison of 21% and 3% oxygen for MIAMI cell culture helped elucidate how specific signal transduction mechanisms produce the observed profound effects of oxygen on cell cycle and differentiation.

It is a small point, but one of the best things about this paper is that the researchers grew the cells for 7 days at physiologically relevant oxygen before their measurements. It has been a frequent disappointment to read a paper that promised results in physiologically relevant culture to find that the reseachers only had their cells in the appropriate conditions for 24 hours (or less!) before their endpoints. The use of these short incubation times is misleading in that it gives us a snapshot of cells in transition to their new environment rather than a steady-state. The authors of this paper understand oxygen biology enough to avoid this mistake and have contributed a key piece to our picture of how culture oxygen levels affect stem cells.


cytocentric visionaries at

Cytocentric Visionaries: Abhilasha Tiwari, PhD, Monash University

What do you look for when you want real answers? Real questions.

Alicia Henn, PhD MBA, Chief Scientific Officer, BioSpherix

Dr. Abhilasha Tiwari is a SIEF-STEM+ Business Postdoctoral Researcher at The Ritchie Centre, Hudson Institute of Medical Research and Monash University. Her work with Graham Jenkin and Mark Kirkland focuses on optimal expansion of hematopoietic stem cells (HSC) from umbilical cord blood.


Here, we talk with Dr. Tiwari about her recent publication in Stem Cells and Development, “Impact of Oxygen Levels on Human Hematopoietic Stem and Progenitor Cell Expansion.” [1] This interview was edited for brevity.

Why Optimize MSC Cell Culture Conditions? Feed a Fibroblast, Starve a Stem Cell

Alicia D. Henn, CSO BioSpherix

A new publication in Stem Cell Research & Therapy (open access) from Alan Wells’ group at University of Pittsburgh has some highly relevant findings for Mesenchymal stem/stromal cell (MSC) culture optimization. MSC are an incredibly valuable cell type for both industrial and research scale cell-based therapeutics. The Wells group reported that in their investigations of the relationships between MSC starvation, autophagy, and differentiation, they stumbled upon a strikingly high glucose consumption rate in comparison with other cell types.1

cytocentric visionaries sm p2

Cytocentric Visionaries: Shannon Mumenthaler, University of Southern California

Part Two: Oxygen, Cell Morphology, and Time

In Part One of this two-part interview, we talked with Dr. Shannon Mumenthaler about her latest study published in Nature’s Open Access Journal, Scientific Reports [1] and her unique combination of high throughput image analysis, heterogeneous cell culture, and full-time control of conditions. Today we talk about adding new dimensions into highly dimensional cell parameter space, including cell shape and time.

cytocentric visionaries sm p1

Cytocentric Visionaries: Shannon Mumenthaler, University of Southern California

Part One: Context is Everything, for Cells and for Scientists

Dr. Shannon Mumenthaler is an Assistant Professor of Research Medicine and Lab Director of the Lawrence J. Ellison Institute for Transformative Medicine of USC. She works closely with a multidisciplinary team, including mathematicians for data analysis. Her group’s latest study published in Nature’s Scientific Reports [1] describes a unique technological combination of high-throughput cell imaging with physiologically relevant oxygen levels in a cytocentric barrier isolator.

In Part One of this two-part interview, we talk with Dr. Mumenthaler about her approach for acquiring a better understanding of the complex drug responses of tumors in their natural environment.