Organ-chip-based analysis systems to advance in vitro technologies
In vitro studies invariably involve assessing a cellular readout in response to a medicine, nutrient or toxicant. Cells themselves are the objects of study when more information is desired about actual response mechanism. When instead the fate of compounds processed by cells is of primary interest, analysis of these compounds and the products produced becomes the experimental focus. The cell cultures in this latter situation become an integral part of the analysis rather the analysed object, playing a somewhat subservient role. Ultimately, many organ-on-a-chip systems are destined to be exploited in this way, serving as in vitro biochemical processing units whose physiological behaviour is manipulated to resemble that in vivo. Merging analytical detection technologies with microfluidics and cell culture is key to the development of these systems as advanced in vitro analysis approaches for routine drug, food and environmental testing. This presentation will consider a few examples of organ-chip-based analysis systems which have been implemented in our labs in Groningen.
Pharmaceutical Analysis, Groningen Research Institute of Pharmacy, University of Groningen, The Netherlands
E.M.J. (Sabeth) Verpoorte has almost 30 years of research experience in the microfluidics or lab-on-a-chip field. Her introduction to the field came in 1990, when she came from Canada as a postdoctoral researcher in the pioneering µTAS group headed by Professor A. Manz at Ciba Ltd., Basel, Switzerland. In 2003, Sabeth made a strategic switch to assume a Chair in the Groningen Research Institute of Pharmacy, making a foray into a new research environment dominated by cells, tissue and drug development. Ongoing projects involve the development of organ-on-a-chip systems to study drug metabolism (liver chip, gut chip), assess organ interactions (intestine-liver chip) and diagnose endothelial dysfunction. Efforts have also concentrated on continuous-flow particle separation strategies, paper microfluidics, as well as miniaturized analytical instrumentation (paper spray ionization, multidimensional chromatography). The acquisition of interdisciplinary projects involving scientists from the life sciences, chemical, and physics disciplines continues to be a driving force in her research.