At AST, we combine our expertise in microfluidics with pluripotent stem cell technology to fabricate heart-on-chip models, providing a controlled microfluidic environment to better understand cardiac development in vitro, cardiac disease, and adverse drug effects.
Micro-Engineered Heart Tissues on a chip
We work towards a continuous improvement of 3D micro-engineered heart tissues (uEHTs) to recapitulate their physiological complexity by introducing multiple relevant cell types in a controlled ratio. Particularly, we focus on the crosstalk between cardiomyocytes and endothelial cells, since in vivo these cell types are in direct contact and endothelial cells play a major role in the regulation of cardiomyocyte’s structural organization, energy metabolism and contractile performance. The establishment of this model in a heart-on-chip system will provide better understanding of the role of the endothelial cells in the (patho-)physiology of human cardiomyocytes.
Arryhthmia on a chip
For studying disturbances in electrical conduction in cardiac tissue, it is necessary to develop a human cardiomyocyte-based model that can recapitulate in vivo action potential wavefront propagation. For this, we generate a geometrically confined 3D cardiac tissue prone to arrhythmic activation patterns. In parallel, we develop custom made methods for local electrical pacing, and generate a ChannelRhodopsin-expressing cell line for blue light pacing of a “pacemaker node” in the tissue. This, together with the custom built imaging setup and data interpretation, enables us to quantify the pro-arrhythmic properties of genetic mutations, drugs, or toxins.
Lymphatic system with cardiac tissue on a chip
The lymphatic system has an important role in the human body as it controls fluid homeostasis in the body, and it regulates the infiltration of immune cells to infected tissue, indicating its importance in inflammatory resolution. Despite its importance in disease progression and resolution, there are no current organ-on-chip systems that incorporate the lymphatic vasculature. In this model we want to incorporate the lymphatic system with cardiac tissue on chip, to get an improved disease model with control over lymphatic functionality
NWA-ORC 2019 1292.19.019
Multiplex micro-engineered patient-specific tissues array for artificial intelligence disease prediction
This project will focus on developing a microfluidic array of micro-engineered heart tissues (µEHT) that combine with artificial intelligence (AI) software, aims to predict disease developments in patients. The microfluidic networks will allow users to control the perfusions of each µEHT. Besides, we will assess the effect of cytokines and different drug compounds on patient-specific µEHT. This platform will revolutionize not only research methods in academia, but also for clinical test in hospitals and drug development in industries.