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JUL/AUG 2013  

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Wyss gets funding to integrate multiple organ-on-chip systems

The Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University may receive up to $37 million in funding from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency to develop an automated instrument that integrates 10 human organs-on-chips to study complex human physiology outside the body, according to Wyss.

Wyss’ lung-on-a-chip, which makes use of living human cells, mimics the lung's tissue-tissue interface and breathing motions. Watch this video on how it works.

Researchers at Wyss previously engineered microchips that recapitulate the microarchitecture and functions of living organs, such as the lung, heart and intestine. Each individual organ-on-chip is composed of a clear flexible polymer about the size of a computer memory stick that contains hollow microfluidic channels lined by living human cells. Because the microdevices are translucent, they provide a window into the inner-workings of human organs without having to invade a living body, according to the researchers.

With DARPA’s funding, the researchers and a team of collaborators will attempt to build 10 different human organs-on-chips, to link them together to more closely mimic whole body physiology and to engineer an automated instrument that will control fluid flow and cell viability while permitting real-time analysis of complex biochemical functions.

An interview with Wyss Institute Founding Director Donald E. Ingber, M.D., Ph.D., conducted by MICROmanufacturing magazine is available here.