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BioCHIPS - Biofabricated microfluidcs CHIPS based on self assembling of CNCs to recreate the hierarchical fibrillar structure of human tissues ECM

Project description

Innovative microfluidics-based platform for biofabrication of tissue-/organs-on-a-chip

The EU-funded BioCHIPs project aims to develop an innovative technology to fabricate cell-containing devices that recreate the biophysical microenvironment of the native extracellular matrix and enable the design of bioengineered microtissue. The fabrication process combines the concept of matrix-assisted 3D free-form bioprinting with the controlled self-assembly of colloidal cellulose nanocrystals (CCN). The BioCHIPs system will utilise high-resolution printing creating multicellular constructs without separating membranes, where the cells will interact via signalling gradients created by compartmentalisation in a fibrillary matrix. The proposed platform can mimic multiple independent single-organ models in a high-throughput mode or link multiple tissue/organ models together via microfluidic circuits. The CCN hydrogels can be digested for further analysis and processing of the embedded components.


Biochips proposes an innovative bottom-up strategy to directly fabricate cell-laden devices that recreate the unique biophysical cues from the native fibrillar ECMs and allow the design of bioengineered microtissues with arbitrary geometries. The proposed platform combines the concepts of matrix-assisted 3D free-form bioprinting with the controlled self-assembly of colloidal cellulose nanocrystals (CNCs) to fabricate cell-laden constructs embedded within its own fibrillar CNC hydrogel device. The proposed platform can array multiple independent single organ models in a high-throughput manner (number will depend on the desired model complexity and well plate used) or link multiple tissue/organ models together with microfluidic circuits that can be user-defined on their CAD designs. The BioCHIPS system enables high-resolution printing of complex and perfusable multicellular constructs without separating membranes or plastic barriers, where cells can interact through signaling gradients created by compartmentalization in a bioinspired fibrillar matrix, and supporting their long-term culture. In addition to optical transparency for real time monitoring, CNCs hydrogels can be bioorthogonally digested to release the embedded constructs for post-bioprinting analysis and processing, which is a crucial advantage in organ/tissue-on-chip applications. Beyond the fabrication of perfusable microfluidic channels and cell-laden chambers for the development of 3D microphysiological systems as in vitro models, the intrinsic characteristics of this bioinspired platform, further enables its scale up to produce tissue engineered constructs within its own bioreactor for in vitro maturation and biological tests at higher scales.

Host institution

Net EU contribution
€ 150 000,00
4704 553 Braga

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Continente Norte Cávado
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Total cost
No data

Beneficiaries (1)