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

The Stingray goes to Paris! March 26th, 2019

The Disease Biophysics Group is at the Pompidou Centre! The centre’s Designing the Living exhibit is part of the Mutations/Créations 3 program. It includes our soft-robotic ray, featured on the cover of Science (Vol 353, Issue 6295; 08 July 2016). The exhibit showcases the interplay of bioengineering with art, and was curated by Marie-Ange Brayer and Olivier Zeitoun. A video of the exhibit can be found on the Pompidou Centre program page.

2019 DBG Retreat January 17th, 2019

The Disease Biophysics Group just returned from its annual retreat! For two days, DBGers presented research updates to the group and our visiting collaborators.

2018 HIRN Meeting at Harvard January 12th, 2019

In December 2018 we hosted the Human Islet Research Network’s (HIRN) NIH investigator meeting. Professor Parker treated the visitors to BBQ brisket and chicken as they discussed the state of the field and toured through DBG labs for numerous demonstrations.


2018 DBG Family Day November 30th, 2018

Left our microscopes at the lab and did Play-Doh science at the Miller Alehouse in Watertown. Critics were small, but fair. Dr. Huibin Chang impresses judges during Play-Doh model competition with an outstanding score of 73.5 out of 20!

Our thanks to our lab members and their families, whose hard work and support makes everything possible.



Welcome, Dr. Suji Choi and Dr. Sarah Motta! October 5th, 2018

The DBG would like to extend a warm welcome to our new postdoctoral fellows, Suji Choi and Sarah Motta. Suji joins us from Seoul National University, where she completed her Ph.D. in Chemical and Biological Engineering in Prof. Dae-hyeong Kim’s Flextronics group. Sarah recently completed her Ph.D. at the Institute for Regenerative Medicine in Zurich in Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine. We are excited for both of them to join us!