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

2019 MRS Conference Award Winners December 10th, 2019

Congratulations to Dr. Luke MacQueen and Dr. John Zimmerman for the Best Poster and Best Poster Nominee awards at the 2019 MRS in Boston!

Luke MacQueen
John Zimmerman

DBG Alumni Awarded ERC Starting Grant November 12th, 2019

Congratulations to DBG alumni Francesco Pasqualini (University of Pavia, Italy) and Ben Maoz (Tel Aviv University, Israel), and longtime associate Maximilian Emmert (Universität Zürich, Switzerland), for being awarded the prestigious ERC Starting Grant this year!

Farewell Seungkuk! September 5th, 2019

Congratulations to Dr. Seungkuk Ahn, who has accepted a position as a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Biophysics Group in ETH Zürich with Professor Daniel J. Müller. Seungkuk joined the Disease Biophysics Group as a graduate student in 2012, and departed for Switzerland this past month. Congratulations Seungkuk!

Thank you to our 2019 summer students! September 5th, 2019

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

Riley Flores
Rudy Gabardi
James Ikeda
Christina Pizza
Danielle Gamboa
Carlos Marquez

Welcome 2019 Summer Students! June 17th, 2019

The Disease Biophysics Group welcomes our 2019 summer students! From left to right: Rudy Gabardi, Carlos Marquez, James Ikeda, Christina Pizza, Danielle Gamboa, and Riley Flores. Best of luck on your summer research projects!