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Organ-on-a-Chip Technologies Network


Pump-prime Projects

Development of a multi-scale microfluidic tissue platform for modelling complex vascular and immune functions

Status: Active
Principal Investigator:
  • Frederik Claeyssens
    University of Sheffield
  • Daniel Aeschlimann
    Cardiff University
  • Zulfiqur Ali
    Teeside University
  • Pelin Candarlioglu
  • Adrian Biddle
    Queen Mary University of London
  • Lorenzo Veschini
    Kings College London
  • Liisa Blowes
    Queen Mary University of London
Award round: 3
Start date: 01-05-2021
End date: 31-10-2021
Contract amount: £8,000
Dynamic interactions between the vasculature, immune system, and tissues are essential for healthy organ function, and dysfunction often underlies many major diseases and adverse drug responses. Despite recent advances in engineered micro-physiologic systems, modelling these complex interactions in vitro and in a human-specific context remains a significant challenge. In particular, mimicking the intricate structure and length scales of blood vessels and the two-way communication between immune cells and tissues are key unmet needs.

To address these challenges, we have established a multi-disciplinary consortium of biologists, biophysicists, and engineers and propose to carry out a series of feasibility studies to engineer a novel vascularised tissue model that integrates a perfusable microvascular network with a recirculating fluidic system. The planned research brings together technological expertise from five academic institutions from across the UK and the commercial input of a major pharmaceutical company, GlaxoSmithKline. Data generated from this pump-priming project will provide essential proof-of-concept for our experimental platform and will be leveraged for major funding applications in the future.

Within one year, we aim to apply for large (>£1 million) programme grants from the British Heart Foundation, Medical Research Council, or Wellcome Trust to investigate human-specific mechanisms of vascular and immune responses in cancer and metabolic disease. Importantly, this collaboration will also establish a new research consortium that will help build and sustain the organ-on-chip research capacity within the UK.