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Engineering tissue specific scaffolds for organ-on-a-chip models


Project description

Pharmaceutical R&D is extremely costly since it depends on animal models for pre-clinical approval. Nonetheless, they still fail to recapitulate human physiopathology. Thus, Organ-on-a-Chip (OOC) systems were created as a future alternative since these are microfluidic systems that mimic the architecture and function of an in vivo organ environment.

One of the challenges for the validation of OOCs is the optimisation of the system’s scaffold, a key component since it emulates the structural framework of the cellular environment. State-of-art scaffolds within this area have been proven to not be improved, which can lead to unreliable data results. In this project, we aim to optimise and standardise scaffolds for in-house OOC systems, through the creation and assessment of different materials and manufacturing techniques so that the OOC technology can be validated as an alternative pre-clinical model to animals within the research industry.

Within this project electrospinning and 3D printing will be used to produce scaffolds of varying architecture with different hydrogels to optimise parameters for different cell types.

Meet the Principal Investigator(s) for the project

Dr. Ruth Mackay - I am a Mechanical Engineer with a particular interest within the biomedical field.  I gained my BEng (Hons) in Mechanical Engineering in 2007, and PhD, in Micro-electromechanical-systems in 2011, both from the University of Dundee.  My research focuses on organ-on-a-chip tecnologies for women's health and low cost point of care diagnostic devices for both human and veterinary applications. My main teaching activities are within the area of Finite Element Analysis.