University of Groningen

Groningen Research Institute of Pharmacy

GRIP is committed to performing internationally recognized advanced research in the pharmaceutical sciences. Moreover, we aim to bridge the gap between the fundamental natural sciences and the medical & clinical sciences. Our educational mission is to deliver professional pharmacists and pharmaceutical researchers to society. We are a multidisciplinary institute whose focus is pharmacological and toxicological research for drug development. GRIP comprises 8 research units with close to 40 tenured research staff and 120 PhD students.  The majority of our funding comes from external sources, for which we leverage our extensive private industrial network.

Website

www.rug.nl/research/grip

Contact

Sabeth Verpoorte
e.m.j.verpoorte@rug.nl

Added value of GRIP partnership for hDMT, and vice versa

Our extensive experience in developing drugs and studying organ-drug response both pharmacologically and toxicologically in several organs in the body is a valuable addition to the existing expertise of the hDMT consortium. We have a unique combination of expertise in microfluidics, analytical chemistry, toxicology and pharmacology, access to human tissue, and know-how in precision-cut tissue slices of several organs, all under one roof. We are happy to share our expertise with hDMT partners, and look forward to the new opportunities for collaboration that hDMT offers our researchers. 

Relevant (inter)national collaborations, in public and private sector

- Cellix Ltd. (Dublin, Ireland; microfluidics technology provider for cell biology)
- Boehringer Ingelheim Pharma GmbH & Co. (disease models in liver slices)
- Cellartis (TakaraBio, Gothenburg, Sweden; hepatic differentiation of induced pluripotent stem cells)
- Micronit B.V. (Enschede, NL; microfluidics technology provider for e.g cell biology)
- Lionix B.V. (Enschede, NL; nanophotonics for cell interrogation)
- Longfonds (Dutch charity for lung disease research)
- note that this list is not exhaustive…

In the public sector there are numerous collaborations, with the most important in the field of organ-on-a-
chip and disease models being with:
- Wageningen University
- Technical University of Denmark
- University Medical Center of Johannes Gutenberg-University Mainz
- Helmholtz Zentrum Munich
- Leiden University Medical Center
- University Medical Center Groningen

Expertise and facilities of the applicant organization, relevant for Organ-on-Chip technology

GRIP has excellent, up-to-date facilities for the preparation of biochips and nanofluidic devices for cells and organ-on-a-chip cultures. Moreover, a facility for preparation and incubation of human and animal precision-cut tissue slices (liver, lung, intestine and kidney) has been established, as well as instrumentation for time-lapse microscopy to register mechanical and morphological changes in these samples. The expertise and infrastructure for cell culture, and the analysis of drugs, metabolites and proteins produced by cells, is widely available within GRIP. We also have access to a well-equipped imaging centre. 

Other relevant information

A Special Interest Group (SIG) has been launched in GRIP to join forces in the development and application of new organ-on-a chip and other adjacent micro-, nano- and 3D-culture technologies. This SIG now consists of ten Principal Investigators, each with her/his own expertise and technology. Each PI has a research group with several post-docs, PhD students and master students. The SIG builds on the scientific diversity within GRIP, increasing information exchange and generating more internal collaboration in, for instance, the supervision of shared Masters students and submission of joint project proposals.

Embedding of Organ-on-Chip technology in research policy

GRIP researchers focus on the development of improved in vitro models to tackle questions related to unravelling and understanding disease mechanisms. Using these models, it becomes possible to realize more effective pharmacological interference in disease processes, improved drug targeting, and better testing of adverse effects. We are working together to develop new organ-on-a-chip systems for the endothelium, intestine, lung, liver and nervous system. Precision pharmacy is a strategic goal for GRIP - we are bringing new staff on board in the near future to expand this research. This aligns well with the hDMT mission of working towards personalized treatments for patients.

Three relevant key publications

- Oomen, Pieter E.; Skolimowski, Maciej D.; Verpoorte, Elisabeth, “Implementing oxygen control in chip-based cell and tissue culture systems”, Lab Chip 2016, 16, 3394-3414. (DOI: 10.1039/c6lc00772d)

Olinga, Peter; Schuppan, Detlef, “Precision-cut liver slices: a tool to model the liver ex vivo”, J. Hepatology 2013, 58, 1252-1253

- Van Midwoud, Paul M.; Merema, Marjolijn T.; Verpoorte, Elisabeth; Groothuis, Geny M.M., “Microfluidics enables small-scale tissue-based drug metabolism studies with scarce human tissue”, J. Ass. Lab. Automation 2011, 16(6), 468-476.

Three relevant grants

- 2016-2020: Netherlands Organisation for Health Research and Development (ZonMW) - Human ex vivo model to study nonalcoholic fatty liver disease and its associated pathologies, 4 partners; Olinga (GRIP) P.I.
- 2015-2019: Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) - Technology Area: Comprehensive Analytical Science and Technology – Dutch public-private partnership: GUTTEST: High-end Analytical Detection coupled to a Guton-a-Chip, 6 partners; Verpoorte (GRIP) P.I.
- 2012–2015: EU 7th Framework Program: Call FP7-Health-2012-innovation-2; Project No. Health-F4-2012.304842 Medical technology for transplantation and bioartificial organs; NanoBio4Trans: A new nanotechnology-based paradigm for engineering vascularized liver tissue for transplantation, 01.09.12 – 31.08.15, 5 partners; funding for Groothuis, Verpoorte (GRIP)