Pump-prime Projects

TEER imaging platform for OOAC: spatially resolved TEER measurement at the cellular level

Status: Completed
Principal Investigator:
  • Rui Rodrigues
    University of Warwick
  • Graham Anderson
    University of Edinburgh
Award round: 3
Start date: 01-03-2021
End date: 30-06-2021
Contract amount: £23,822
PDFInitial project report


The role of the barriers in our bodies is to maintain homeostasis and protect vital organs. Their regulation is usually tightly controlled and any disruption may lead to a range of diseases. The study of their properties is also of utter importance in the context of drug delivery.

A field of research called Organs on a Chip aims to grow small organs or tissues and recapitulate microphysiological conditions on miniature chips. This field has an enormous potential in a number of applications. Organs on a Chip are used to study complex biological processes (including those associated with diseases), test new drugs (including on cells taken from patient for “personalised medicine“), etc. Moreover, it does so while reducing or replacing the use of animals in research.

Barrier organs have been widely studied using Organs on a Chip chips, as reflected by the fact that they account for some of the most advanced models developed. Examples include blood brain barriers, gut, lung, blood retina barriers models. Tissue barrier integrity, barrier function and tight junction formation are among the most important tissues barrier parameters. However, these parameters are currently studied using relatively old technologies that only provides bulk information about the entire barrier. Yet, as most biological systems, there is a need for measurements at the cellular level. This is exactly what we propose to do with this project. We have developed a technology that we called TEER imaging that will enable researchers to study in real-time, barrier organs to the cellular level.

The goal of this project is to validate a proof of concept low resolution platform using established blood retina barrier and blood brain barrier models. This data will provide the basis to apply for more substantial funding to improve the platform’s resolution and validate the applicability of our approach to a wide range of model barrier organs. We will work with members from the network to achieve these goals.

Key Outputs

TEER imaging platform for OOAC: spatially resolved TEER measurement at the cellular level: OOAC e-Symposium Oct 2021, abstract presentation, Rui Rodrigues