The main goal of our research line inside AMB group is the use of computational simulation tools to help in the design and fabrication of biomimetic microfluidic devices to solve clinical relevant problems. We are interested in two different approaches, one focused in the reproduction of the cellular microenvironment using microtechnologies-microfluidics and the other focused in the study of how the mechanical stimuli of the microenvironment affect to the cellular and tissue behavior.
Microfluidics or how can we mimic the cellular microenvironment
Tissues are complex structures composed by several cell types and physical/chemical gradients not reproducible using standard “in vitro” models. Microfabrication and microfluidic technologies have recently arisen allowing the design and creation of custom high performance cell culture systems to mimic the cellular microenvironment in physiological and pathological conditions.
Our group efforts in Microfluidic are concentrated on:
- Design and development of thermoplastic based microfluidic devices for biomimetic cell culture application.
- Tumor microenvironment (Glioblastoma, breast and colon cancer)
- Kidney on a chip
- Drug diffusion on a chip
- Development of packaging tools, flow control hardware and environmental sensors to keep cells on a controlled environment
- Low range disposable flow sensors
- Microvalves based on microfluidic chips
- Oxygen and pH sensors
- Development of novel cell culture protocols and applications.
- Advanced surface treatments
- Seeding procedures and protocols for complex co-culture experiments
- Protocols to improve the posterior read-out.
Mechanobiology or how cells behave under mechanical stimuli
Mechanical stimuli are present in most physiological and pathological processes. However, the effects caused by mechanical stimuli have been not so deeply investigated. Complex processes like proliferation, differentiation, extracellular matrix formation, etc. in response to mechanical stimuli can be studied. This approach can be done not only experimentally but also taking advantage of the computational simulation tools.
We are interested in a multiscale approach (cellular and tissue level).
- Mechanobiology and cell biophysics: Modification of cell behavior as an individual in response to various mechanical stimuli.
- Using modelling tools to simulate cell response (migration, proliferation, etc) to mechanical/chemical stimuli
- In vitro experiment in biomimetic conditions to study how cells response to different mechanical stimuli (stiffness, uni or biaxial tensile stress, etc)
- Regenerative Medicine / Tissue Engineering: Replacement of functions and / or organs by applying mechanical stimuli. In this issue we have several different approaches:
- Design and manufacture of bioreactors
- Mechanical characterization of tissues and scaffolds for Tissue Engineering
- Application of mechanical stimuli in scaffolds or matrices to generate new tissues similar to the tissue to be replaced.
- Artificial Organs: Replacement of the function of an organ through microfluidic devices.