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Tissue Engineering and Microfabrication Team of the Interdepartmental Research Center E.Piaggio

 MCB Group Topics

The objective of our research is to gain an understanding of the elements of cell, tissue and organ and interactions and their integrative response to external physical and chemical stimuli using organomics. Organomics can be defined as the investigation of integrative physiology in-vitro through the development and study of physiologically relevant in-vitro models of organs and multi-organ systems. These models can be used to generate high quality and predictive data and lead to an improved understanding of inter-organ exchange and cross-talk. Whilst the scientific goals can be described as pertaining to basic research, the long term implications of this type of study are far reaching. In particular, the findings of these studies will make important contributions to the field of tissue engineering, drug testing, organ and disease models, providing new methods and tools for creating functional tissues, organs and physiological systems in-vitro. To obtain these goals, we make use of two new engineering tools: controlled modular bioreactors and microfabrication. Bioreactors supply a dynamic environment with multiple stimuli whilst scaffolds furnish a three dimensional architecture similar to that of the extra cellular matrix.

 ORGANOMICS

We define organomics as the development and study of organ models and interconnected organ systems in order to better understand tissue cross talk and how this cross talk is used to orchestrate systemic physiology. Organome network maps can then be constructed to clarify the interaction between different organs. A task which would be of overwhelming complexity to accomplish in-vivo can thus be broken down into more manageable elements using interconnected in-vitro models.

 BIOREACTORS

The complexity of the physiological environment is not replicated in petri dishes or microplates. All cells are exquisitely sensitive to their micro environment which is rich with cues from other cells, and from mechanical stimuli due to flow, perfusion and movement. This is a major limitation to experiments investigating cellular responses in vitro since the complex interplay of mechanical and biochemical factors are absent. For this reason we have developed a series of intelligent, and award winning cell culture systems. They range from the original MCB (multi compartmental bioreactor) system to the system on a plate’ MCB Connected Culture system which enables microwell protocols to be transferred directly to the bioreactor modules, without redesign of cell culture experiments. All systems offer mechanical stimuli from flow and biochemical stimuli from cells placed in connected modules. Additional modules provide force fields such as hydrodynamic stress, hydrostatic pressure, tensile stress or compressive stress.
Our group has patented several of these systems, some of which have been licensed to Kirkstall Ltd U.K, and are currently the focus of two FP7 projects as well as regional funding.

 MICROFABRICATION

At present our research is focused on three types of tissue reconstruction: vascular, myocardial, hepatic and neural. All four types from highly complex and functional architectures In order to construct engineered tissue with a high degree of complexity, cells must be provided with a suitable three dimensional synthetic or biological scaffold upon which they can assemble and adhere. If the scaffold has an appropriate geometry, cell organisation in space can be directed and controlled using chemical ligands or physical stimuli.
Therefore our group has developed and patented several microfabrication techniques, including the PAM (Pressure Assisted MicroSyringe), PAM2 (Piston Assisted Microsyringe) and the integrated PAM2modular system. In addition innovative molecular imprinting technique is also used to direct cell function at the nanoscale. The microfabrication systems are used in tissue engineering projects as well as for fabrication of sensors and actuators, and we can supply designer scaffolds of polymers and gels.
In parallel with the microfabrication and bioreactor research, we use modelling tools for designing and predicting the behaviour of particles, cells and drops in microsystems

 ‭(Hidden)‬ MCB group


The objective of our research is to gain an understanding of the elements of cell organisation and their response to external physical and chemical stimuli. Whilst the scientific goals can be described as pertaining to basic research, the long term implications of this type of study are far reaching. In particular, the findings of these studies will make important contributions to the field of tissue engineering, drug testing, organ and disease models, providing new methods and tools for creating functional tissues and organs in vitro. To obtain these goals, we make use of two new engineering tools: controlled bioreactors and microfabrication. Bioreactors supply a dynamic environment with multiple stimuli whilst scaffolds furnish a three dimensional architecture similar to that of the extra cellular matrix. Bioreactors The complexity of the physiological environment is not replicated in petri dishes or microplates. All cells are exquisitely sensitive to their micro environment which is rich with cues from other cells, and from mechanical stimuli due to flow, perfusion and movement. This is a major limitation to experiments investigating cellular responses in vitro since the complex interplay of mechanical and biochemical factors are absent. For this reason we have developed a series of intelligent, and award winning cell culture systems. They range from the original MCB (multi compartmental bioreactor) system to the ‘system on a plate’ MCB Connected Culture Quasi-Vivo TM system which enables microwell protocols to be transferred directly to the bioreactor modules, without redesign of cell culture experiments. All system offers mechanical stimuli from flow and biochemical stimuli from cells placed in connected modules. Additional modules provide force fields such as hydrodynamic stress, hydrostatic pressure, tensile stress or compressive stress. Our group has patented several of these systems, most of which have been licensed to Kirkstall Ltd U.K, and are currently the focus of two FP7 projects as well as regional funding

 ‭(Hidden)‬ Announcements

Proff Ahluwalia's Home PageUse SHIFT+ENTER to open the menu (new window).
You can find the new home page of Proff. Arti Ahluwalia at adress http://dionisio.ing.unipi.it/arti
There are some downlodable files in the "shared documents" folder.
 
 

 Collaborations

  Department of Computer Science - University of Pisa
  Pharmaceutics Department - University of Siena
  Biomaterials Group - University of Sheffield
  Instituto de Engenharia Biomédica - University of Porto
  Dipartimento di Ingegneria Chimica - Università di Pisa
  Institute of Clinical Physiology CNR of Pisa
  Kirkstall Ltd
  Istituto Nazionale per le Ricerche Cardiovascolari - Roma "Tor Vergata"
  Dipartimento di Medicina e Clinica Sperimentale - University of Padova
  Hepatic Physiopathology - University of Montpellier

 Links

  Engineering Faculty of Pisa
  Interdepartmental Research Center "E. Piaggio"
  University of Pisa
  MCBgroup YouTube Channel