Pump-prime Projects

Development of an immune-responsive 3D skin model

Status: Completed
Principal Investigator:
  • John Greenman
    University of Hull
  • Matthew Hardman
    University of Hull
  • Ana Laly Aguedo
    Queen Mary University of London
Award round: 1
Start date: 04-01-2019
End date: 31-07-2019
Contract amount: £17,008
PDFInitial project report


The immune system is an essential regulator of normal physiologic and wound repair processes within the skin, and it contributes to the progression of many different skin diseases. The nature of the interactions between circulating immune cells and resident skin cells is highly complex and currently difficult to model in the lab.

While animal models are able to capture much of this complexity, they often fail to accurately replicate human-specific responses. There is therefore a clear need to develop more advanced human skin models that include essential immune responses. The aim of this sabbatical project is to carry out preliminary studies for the development of next-generation, immunecompetent skin models.

The proposed model will consist of 3D human skin equivalents linked to an immune cell compartment through a perfusable culture system. The planned project will involve a three month research exchange, where a research assistant from QMUL with expertise in 3D skin
models will work with immunology experts at the University of Hull. Existing 3D skin models will be incorporated into a commercially available, perfusable culture system and combined with immune cells. As a proof-of-concept, the immune response to a common skin irritant will be examined within this model system.

The successful completion of this project will establish a new collaboration, generate essential preliminary data for future grant applications, and build the research capacity of the Organ-on-a-Chip network.

Key Outputs

MRC studentship: Understanding dynamic immune response with a fluidic skin model, £90,000 2019 - 2023

Presentation at BioMedEng19 in Organ-on-a-Chip Session

New Collaboration between QMUL & Hull University

Important first step towards the development of 3D human skin models with immune responsive function