Project abstract for group haynescl

Immune System On-a-Chip

Understanding the cellular interactions occurring in the human immune system is a hard task because of the inherent complexity and dynamicity of the immune system. While several studies used animal models to account the complex and dynamic nature of in vivo systems, the in vivo assays are expensive, slow, hard to control, and more importantly, do not clearly reveal cellular-level mechanisms, i.e. how one cell signals another and triggers an immune response. Instead of such in vivo approach, this research studies cell-to-cell interactions in vitro in the environment that mimics in vivo system, and realize chemical identification of biomarkers involved in such interactions. Microfluidics provides great features as the sensing platform because it can easily mimic complexity and dynamicity of the in vivo system into the in vitro assay platform, and provide stable sample fluid manipulation and optical detection incorporation. Designing and optimizing the dimensions and arrangements of the micron-sized channels and chambers are the key to realize the intended in vitro sensor platform; as such, this research thus requires intense computational works to consider fluid dynamics in the device. Diffusion and transport of molecules need to be modeled for efficient delivery, and other rheological parameters of fluid, such as shear stress, need to be modeled as well to have cells in more physiologically relevant environment. COMSOL Multiphysics has modules that can be used for this purpose. These computational studies will be performed along with MSI support, and after completion of the device, this research will reveal useful and fundamental information about cellular level mechanisms of the immune system. 

A bibliography of this group’s publications acknowledging MSI is attached.