Microdevices

Overview

Our research is focused on designing and building hybrid materials and devices. Microscale soft biological constructs, which retain their unique biological functionalities, are being interfaced with robust synthetic components to develop two distinct technologies: (1) Active bionanomaterials and (2) Quantitative pharmacological devices.


Muscle on a chip

Primary Investigator: Anna Grosberg, Ph.D

The “heart on a chip” is a microdevice that encapsulates multiple pieces of laminar muscle for in vitro studies of tissue contractility, structural properties, and electrophysiological function (Grosberg A, et al. “Ensembles of engineered cardiac tissues for physiological and pharmacological study: Heart on a chip.” Lab Chip, 2011). The design of such microdevices will give researches and companies an ability to perform tissue scale in vitro experiments to test their cell’s function and/or the effect of pharmacological agents. We are currently working on integrating the “heart on a chip” with other muscle types including stem-cell derived myocytes. Our design efforts are greatly enhanced by our lab’s variety of tools ranging from an optical mapping system and fluorescent microscopes to access to microfab facilities and the muscular thin film technology.

Anya_HeartOnChipMovie.gif

The movie shows a 6 film “heart on a chip”, blue – flat film outline, red – projection tracking


Higher throughput muscle on a chip

Primary Investigator: Ashutosh Agarwal, Ph.D

We are engineering cardiac and vascular smooth muscle cells into spatially organized microtissues on laser cut sub millimeter sized elastomer thin films and hydrogel thin films to give rise to large scale arrays of ‘Muscular Thin Films’ (MTFs) on a chip. The laser cutting procedure is also being employed to batch produce multiple chips in a reproducible and potentially scalable manner. Finally, these chips are being integrated into microfluidic devices to permit high throughput multiplexed analyses. We envision this in vitro technology to serve as an effective pre-clinical screen and hence greatly shorten the timeline and reduce the costs associated with the development of medical therapeutics and products.


Cardiac valve on a chip

Primary Investigator: Kartik Balachandran, Ph.D

We are also interested in developing combinatory “organ on a chip” devices, and one of our research thrusts in this direction is the development of a valve on a chip. Our objective is to design a valve system with neural input that recapitulates the function of a valve in a scaled down on-chip device. This research thrust is motivated from recent secondary valvulotoxic effects of neurological drugs such as diet pills (Fenfluramine-Phentermine) and anti-depressants. We aim to use this device for high throughput testing of neurological and valve function in response to various pharmacological agents.
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What's New

Farewell Charles Alver! August 13th, 2018

The DBG would like to thank Charles Alver for his time in the group and to wish him the best of luck in the Medical Scientist Training Program at the University of Miami!

Thank you to our 2018 summer students! August 13th, 2018

Thank you the undergraduate students who visited our lab this summer. We wish you all the best in your future endeavors!

 

Sydney Reed, Mississippi State University
Karla Rivera, Barry University
John Doyle, University of Massachusetts at Lowell
Chris Grouard, Bunker Hill Community College
Jesse Palmer, United States Military Academy at West Point
Sayo Eweje, Harvard University
Michael Peters, Harvard University

The DBG welcomes visiting faculty July 27th, 2018

The Disease Biophysics Groups welcomes visiting falculty Professor Renita Horton from Mississippi State University, Professor Kwanwoo Shin from Sogang University, and Colonel John Burpo, the chair of the Chemistry Department at West Point. The Disease Biophysics Group would also like to thank the faculty members for working with our researchers during their visit.

Welcome Summer REU Students and West Point Cadets! July 27th, 2018

The Disease Biophysics Group would like welcome our 2018 summer REU students and West Point Cadets for the summer. Good luck on your research projects!

The Disease Biophysics Group welcomes new Staff member July 27th, 2018

The Disease Biophysics Group would like to welcome our newest staff scientist, Daniel Drennan, to the group!