• Groene Loper 3, Gemini-Zuid, 3.128

    5612 AE Eindhoven

    Netherlands

  • P.O. Box 513, Department of Mechanical Engineering

    5600 MB Eindhoven

    Netherlands

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Organization profile

Introduction / mission

As part of the Mechanical Engineering department, our cross-disciplinary research group investigates and develops microsystems for medicine and biology with integrated bio-inspired functionality. We apply emerging and established micro-nanofabrication methods. The specific goal is to combine microfluidics with tissue engineering to create a realistic in vitro model of the brain, which can provide insights into both normal and disease-state function. To forward-engineer a living brain-on-chip from neuronal stem cells, we design, realize, test artificial micro-environments with a focus on their physiological relevance.

Highlighted phrase

Temporal and spatial control of the cellular microenvironment is key to developing physiological and clinically relevant platform technologies for the prevention, relief and cure of human diseases. Hence, the understanding of critical design rules for bio-hybrid systems is important.

Organisational profile

As part of the Microsystems section, we designs microsystems for medicine and biology with a focus on brain research. We develop and study micro-nanofabrication methods to devise miniaturized in vivo-like brain models using neuronal stem cell in culture and study new applications of this so called brain-on-a-chip technologies.

We already have developed a microelectromechanical system (MEMS)-based microbioreactor that records neuro-electrophysiological activity in 3D neuronal cell cultures derived from a commercial healthy human induced Pluripotent Stem Cell source. Furthermore, recent studies in our group have found that nanogrooves created on tissue culture substrates align neurite outgrowth and hence connect neurons with directional preference. Therefore, we present nanogrooves and similar nanofeatures to the stem cells during differentiation via the surfaces of the chip, which will form unique new interfaces to grow in vivo-like brain tissue for pre-clinical experiments. Our group enables to devise these microbioreactors for applications using patient-derived neuronal stem cells. We provide showcases for Epilepsy, Parkinson’s Disease and Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) that may be extrapolated to other neurodegenerative diseases. Above all, the proof-of-concepts that are obtained within our projects provide us with the first steps in the research and development path towards early-stage business development and applied research of the manufacturing, reliable handling and read-out of these specific class of microphysiological systems through close collaboration with our (bio)medical partners.

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