Biosensors for bioengineering


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The Biosensors for bioengineering group is a junior group under IBEC’s Tenure Track scheme.
Javier Ramón Azcón | Junior Group Leader
Maria Alejandra Ortega Machuca | Postdoctoral Researcher
Ferran Velasco Mallorquí | PhD Student
Xiomara Gislen Fernández Garibay | Research Assistant

Description

Formation of 3D ESC aggregates in GelMA hydrogel using dielectrophoresis (DEP). The stem cells in the GelMA prepolymer were introduced into the 100 µm height chamber and localized by DEP forces to the low electric field regions within the microelectrodes. The GelMA prepolymer was then exposed to UV light, embedding the cells in a stable microscale organization. Scale bar shows 100 µm.

Drug discovery pathway relies heavily on in vivo animal models and in vitro cell mediums. In the case of animal models we have not only some ethical problems but also the ability to extrapolate data to human conditions is limited and in vitro platforms often do not simulate the complex cell–cell and cell–matrix interactions crucial for regulating cell behaviour.

The Biosensors for Bioengineering group is focused in a new line of research that has become of extreme importance in the last years. The idea is to integrate biosensor technology and nanotechnology with stem cell research and with tissue engineering. Engineered tissues are integrated with biosensing technology to obtain microdevices for detecting cellular responses to external stimuli, monitoring the quality of the microenvironment (e.g., metabolites, nutrients), and supporting diverse cellular requirements. This research on 3D-functional engineered tissues is expected to develop knowledge of tissue construction and their functions and relation with some human diseases. Integration of fully functional tissues with microscale biosensor technology allowed us to obtain “organs-on-a-chip”. These chips could be used in pharmaceutical assays and could be a step toward the ultimate goal of producing in vitro drug testing systems crucial to the medicine and pharmaceutical industry.

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Right: Picture of aligned C2C12 muscle cells within hydrogel as obtained by the dielectrophoresis (DEP) technique using 50 µm electrode 50 µm gap device (A). Phase contrast images of the aligned C2C12 muscle cells within hydrogel at different culture times (B and C). Scale bar shows 0.25 cm, 400 μm, and 50 μm in A, B, and C, respectively.

 

Myotubes differentiated in a groove-ridge topography GelMA-CNTs composite loaded with 0.3 mg/mL CNTs. Immunostaining of cell nuclei/myosin heavy chain showing the highly aligned C2C12 myotubes. Z-lines were also observed for the myotubes indicating high maturation of muscle myofibers. Scale bar show 20 µm.

Myotubes differentiated in a groove-ridge topography GelMA-CNTs composite loaded with 0.3 mg/mL CNTs. Immunostaining of cell nuclei/myosin heavy chain showing the highly aligned C2C12 myotubes. Z-lines were also observed for the myotubes indicating high maturation of muscle myofibers. Scale bar show 20 µm.

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News/Jobs

ERC funding for new diabetes approach at IBEC
04/10/2016

IBEC’s Dr. Javier Ramón is one of just six researchers in Catalonia to have been awarded a 2016 Starting Grant by the European Research Council (ERC).


Projects

EU-funded projects
‘Diabetes Approach by Multi-Organ-on-a-Chip’ (DAMOC) ERC Javier Ramón

Publications



(See full publication list in ORCID)


Equipment


Micro and nanofabrication techniques:

  • 3D microstructures on hydrogel materials
  • Mini-bioreactor for 3D cell culture
  • Microelectrodes fabrication
  • Synthesis and chemical modification of polymers and surfaces
  • Dielectrophoretic cells and micro particles manipulation

Characterization techniques:

  • Optical Microscopes (white light/epifluorescence)
  • Electrochemical techniques (Potentiometric/Amperometric/Impedance spectroscopy)
  • Immunosensing techniques (Fluorescence ELISA/Colorimetric ELISA/magneto ELISA)

Equipment:

  • Microfluidic systems (High precision syringe pumps/Peristaltic pumps/Micro valves)
  • Biological safety cabinet (class II)
  • Epifluorescence microscope for live-cell imaging

Access to the Nanotechnology Platform (IBEC Core Facilities): equipment for hot embossing lithography, polymer processing and photolithography, chemical wet etching, e-beam evaporation and surface characterization (TOF-SIMS)
Access to the Scientific and Technological Centers (University of Barcelona): equipment for surface analysis (XPS, AFM, XRD), organic structures characterization (NMR) and microscopy techniques (SEM, TEM, confocal)

Collaborations

  • Prof. Josep Samitier
    IBEC
  • Dr. Elena Martinez
    IBEC
  • Dr. Anna Novials
    Institut D´Investigacions Biomediques August Pi i Sunyer (IDIBAPS)
  • Dr. Ramon Gomís
    Institut D´Investigacions Biomediques August Pi i Sunyer (IDIBAPS)

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