Mar Alvarez, Ramon y Cajal researcher, Biomedical Applications Group, IMB-CNM
Organ-on-chip (OOC) is the term used to define a microfluidic 3D culture model that contains continuously perfused chambers inhabited by living cells. The development of the OOC technology has been possible thanks to the advancement in micro- and nanotechnologies. The engineered cellular microenvironments reproduce more accurately the in vivo structure and physiological conditions, and allow simulating the activities, mechanics and physiological response of tissues and organs. OOC are considered as very promising tools for investigating many aspects of human physiology and pathophysiology as well as drug testing platforms with future progressions to be used for precision medicine. As the complexity of OOC systems increases, the necessity to integrate relevant assessment methods to provide information about cell physiology, secreted metabolites as well as pharmacodynamics drug responses also increases.
In this talk, I will focus on the different engineering approaches that we have used to develop physical and chemical sensors that can be integrated into OOC. I will describe our recent works on biological barrier models, including blood-retinal barrier, renal tubule and liver sinusoid. In particular, I will talk about compartmentalization strategies and integration of transepithelial electrical resistance electrodes into these models, fabricated by standard photolithographic processes, for the on-line quantification of ion permeability and continuous evaluation of the barrier functioning. I will as well describe the integration of inkjet-printed electrodes into the culture porous membrane for the monitorization in real-time of the dissolved oxygen levels.