Mechanogel: A tendon culture system and biomaterial scaffold


The Institute for Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine at The Chinese University of Hong Kong has developed a novel culture system comprising a combination of a mechanically robust hydrogel, tendon-specific culture media, and mechanical loading regimen for efficient differentiation of tenocytes from stem cells, that can be directly applied as a cell-based therapeutic to achieve robust, precise tendon healing.

  • Mechanogel: A tendon culture system and biomaterial scaffold
Commercialisation opportunities
Technology licensing agreement
Problem addressed

Tissue-specific stem cell differentiation is a grand challenge in regenerative medicine. At present, it is highly challenging to produce tendon cells and maintain their phenotype over long-term. Our proprietary culture system can provide a 3D tendon biomimetic culture environment, complete with biological and biophysical cues for precise and efficient tendon differentiation.

  • This culture system highly mimics tendon-specific microenvironment to induce robust and precise tendon differentiation and is different from other systems owing to its combination of tendon-specific biological and biophysical cues.
  • The hydrogel employed in this culture system is able to withstand high tensile loads (about 250 KPa) several folds greater than most hydrogels (typically 1-30 KPa)
Key impact
  • This culture system includes a hydrogel. It exhibits excellent, phototunable biomechanical features. It can also be subjected to long time mechanical loading in vitro and be used as a biomaterial scaffold for in vivo implantation.
  • This culture system is highly biocompatible that can be used as an in vitro cell culture device to study tendon-specific differentiation and for regenerative medicine applications.
  • Owing to its high tensile properties, this culture system may be used in other applications including musculoskeletal tissue engineering, etc.
  • Use as a culture system device for stem cell-mediated tenogenic culture.
  • Use as a tendon biomaterial scaffold for tendon repair.
  • Other use in tissue engineering and regenerative medicine including tissue engineered scaffolds, drug delivery, etc.


  • Patent application pending
The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK)

Founded in 1963, The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) is a forward-looking comprehensive research university with a global vision and a mission to combine tradition with modernity, and to bring together China and the West. CUHK teachers and students hail from all around the world. Four Nobel laureates are associated with the university, and it is the only tertiary institution in Hong Kong with recipients of the Nobel Prize, Turing Award, Fields Medal and Veblen Prize sitting as faculty in residence. CUHK graduates are connected worldwide through an extensive alumni network. CUHK undertakes a wide range of research programmes in many subject areas, and strives to provide scope for all academic staff to undertake consultancy and collaborative projects with industry.