at the interface of nanotechnology and life sciences

CIRCULAR: Heart-on-a-Chip

Project description

Organs-on-chips are microfluidic devices for culturing living cells in continuously perfused, micrometer-sized chambers in order to model the physiological functions of human tissues and organs. This technology holds great promise to revolutionize pharmaceutical drug discovery and development which today is a tremendously expensive and inefficient process. It will enable faster, cheaper, physiologically relevant and more reliable (standardized) assays for biomedical science and drug testing.

In particular, it is anticipated that organ-on-a-chip (OoaC) technology can substantially replace animal drug testing with using the by far better models of true human cells. Moreover organ-on-a-chip technology will find its application in personalized therapy in the context of ‘precision medicine’.
Of particular interest is the heart-on-a-chip (HoaC) for drug and cardiotoxicity screening because there is presently no preclinical test system that predicts the most important features of cardiac safety accurately and cost-effectively.

In this project you will contribute to the development of a robust and dedicated microfluidic device in which atrial cardiomyocytes (HL-1, iPSC-derived atrial cardiomyocytes) can be cultured at optimal conditions to determine electrical, contractile and biological endpoints relevant for cardiac research. Hereto, we explore different materials for manufacturing the device (glass, and different polymers such as PMMA), surface functionalization of the flow channel to support optimal cell culture (gelatin, fibronectin collagen, vitronectin) and the composition of the buffer solution, including the flow speed through the microfluidic channel, needed to achieve optimal conditions to keep the cells healthy and alive in a reproducible manner. Starting point for this device is the organ-on-chip device that Micronit and Saxion have already developed. Besides the actual device, a standard operating procedure for atrial cardiomyocyte culture to ensure reproducibility within the microfluidic chip is formulated.

Educational programs:
- Biology and Laboratory Research / Biologie en Medisch Laboratoriumonderzoek (BML)
- Applied Computer Science / Technische Informatica (TI)
- Chemistry / Chemie (C)
- Chemical Engineering / Chemische Technologie (CT)

Interested, please send your motivation letter and CV before the 4th of July 2022 to
Peter Schön