Congratulations to Emilia!
A three-year grant for the development of a versatile platform which enables cell growth and electrochemical analysis in various point of the three dimensional culture was just accepted by the The National Centre for Research and Development (NCBR). This project envisages collaboration with the Nencki Institute of Experimental Biology (Laboratory of Cell Biophysics lead by prof. Jakub Włodarczyk) and industry as the final devices will be tested in a leading Polish pharmaceutical company Adamed.
The grant also means that we will be looking for two new PhD students (studies starting March 2019, admissions in January) and a trainee to work in the new project. More detail will come in a separate post soon, but those who are interested can please contact Emilia for more information.
For those who would like to know more about the project itself a short description of the idea below. Lazier ones can listen (in Polish) to a podcast from ChilliZet, where Emilia was recently invited, to talk about her project, how to get financed and what are the chances for young researchers in Poland.
3D scaffolds with integrated multielectrode measurement setup for cell culture and pharmaceutical applications
3D cell cultures play a critical role in real time studies of mammalian physiology at a cellular level and are postulated to become a bridge between 2D in vitro models and experiments on animals. Models of this kind are able to mimic the in vivo environment, including the hystologic, physiologic and functional properties of the tissues in question, much better than traditionally used planar cultures. This mimicry is attributed mainly to more natural cell-cell and cell-extracellular matrix interactions, which influence gene expression, proliferation, migration and adhesion. However, at present difficulties in analysis of such complex 3D structures and complete lack of possibilities of their automation restrain full emergence of this technology.
The main goal of this project is to develop a versatile platform which enables cell growth and electrochemical analysis in various point of the three dimensional culture. Optical techniques traditionally used to analyze planar cultures, encounter obvious difficulties when applied to imaging of inside of 3D structures. Our system with electrodes integrated at various points of the cell culture scaffold, will allow for viability studies, through measurements of oxygen and glucose consumption as well as analysis of neurotransmitters. Integration of other measurement types is possible in the future. Proposed prototype will be easy to use (at a level of commercial electrophysiology equipment), allow culturing of various cell types, with the use of different hydrogel scaffolds.
The final device will address two main groups i.e. scientists applying cell cultures to develop basic research and pharmaceutical companies. As no similar device exists the outcome of this project could potentially revolutionize the market of 3D cell culture. Given that their applications include cancer and stem cell research, tissue engineering, drug discovery and toxicology testing, an analytical-culturing platform of proposed kind is of utmost importance.