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PhD Thesis Defence: Maider Badiola

Wednesday, March 10 @ 9:00 am11:00 pm

Compartmentalised microfluidic culture systems for in vitro modelling of neurological and neuromuscular microenvironments

Maider Badiola, Nanobioengineering group

Movement of skeletal-muscle fibres is generated by the locomotion circuit. Failures in any part of the circuit can cause or define the severity of neuromuscular diseases (NMD), such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Conventional in vitro study models coculturing motoneurons and skeletal muscle cells are not physiologically relevant. Moreover, studying fragments of the circuit cannot provide a comprehensive and complete view of the pathological process.

This thesis aims to study the neuromuscular context in vitro through compartmentalised microfluidic culture systems (cµFCS) and to create physiologically relevant study models. It offers an evolving prospective of in vitro models, moving from mice to human cells, from 2D to 3D cell cultures, from primary cells to human induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSC), and analysing both healthy and diseased cells.

This thesis gathers many technological innovations from a Bioengineering point of view, paving the way for future studies in the neuromuscular field. It shows that the integration of the entire neuromuscular circuit components in the developed in vitro systems provides a wider view of the neuromuscular physiology and the pathological processes. These results show first steps towards future 3D physiological neuromuscular circuit models on a chip for NMD studies.

The defence will take place online using the Microsoft Teams Platform