Immortality: desiccation of human (stem) cells for long-term storage and cell therapy-based applications

Dr David Chau (primary)
Eastman Dental Institute
University College London
Dr Driton Vllasaliu (secondary)
Pharmaceutical Science
King’s College London


Mammalian cells are involved in a range of biomedical/biotechnological applications including exploitation in regenerative medicine. Critical to their success long-term storage. Cryopreservation in liquid nitrogen is most frequently used, however, this technique suffers from high costs, difficulties in logistics and also uses undesirable additives. An alternative approach, proposed as low cost, low maintenance and process-compatible, is the viable desiccation (and rehydration) of these cells. This project aims to create a successful cell desiccation protocol by manipulation of the exogenous environment and/or the processing conditions of the culture environment.


1. Crowe JH, Crowe LM. 2000. Preservation of mammalian cells-learning nature’s tricks. Nat Biotechnol. 8(2):145-6
2. Tunnacliffe A, Garcı́ A, Manzanera M. 2001. Anhydrobiotic engineering of bacterial and mammalian cells: is intracellular trehalose sufficient? Cryobiology, 43(2):124-132
3. Nicodemus GD, Bryant SJ. 2008. Cell encapsulation in biodegradable hydrogels for tissue engineering applications. Tissue Eng Part B Rev. 14(2):149-65
4. Chau DYS, Dennis AR, Lin H, Zeitler JA, Tunnacliffe A. 2016. Determination of water content in dehydrated mammalian cells using terahertz pulsed imaging: a feasibility study. Curr Pharm Biotechnol. 17(2):200-2007
5. Zhai J, Mantaj J, Vllasaliu D. 2018. Ascorbyl Palmitate Hydrogel for Local, Intestinal Delivery of Macromolecules. Pharmaceutics. 10(4): E188

Molecules, cells and industrial biotechnology
Area of Biology
BiotechnologyCell Biology
Techniques & Approaches
BiochemistryChemistryEngineeringMathematics / StatisticsMolecular BiologySimulation / Modelling