Research

The scientific program of the hDMT Institute will combine state of the art stem cell biology with engineering technologies to create superior human tissue and disease models for various purposes.

Two main scientific programs will run in parallel within the Institute, which  will reinforce and complement each other:

  1. (A) Actual human organ, tissue and disease models
  2. (B) Organ on Chip technology platforms.
  3. The details of the programs will be tuned to  the needs of pharmaceutical, biotech and other companies for specific organ and disease models.
  4.  

A. Organ and disease models on chips

Today a number of human organ/disease models (-on-chips) have already been developed or are in different phases of development. They vary from models on cardiovascular diseases, cancer/metastasis to cognitive disorders, cystic fibrosis, diseases of the internal organs, and skin and hair. In close dialogue with the scientific experts of the hDMT three main research focus areas have been defined, based on the available expertise, the current research programs and the interest of pharma and other companies. These three main research focus area's are:

  • 1. Vessels on Chip/vascular diseases
  • 2. Heart on Chip/cardiac diseases
  • 3. Cancer on Chip
  • 4. Brain on Chip
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  • In addition to the abovementioned research focus areas, a number of other topics has the interest of hDMT for further research using the organ on chip technology. Among them in particular are lifestyle models (skin and hair), nutrition/infection (microbiome), autoimmune diseases and neurodegenerative diseases (developmental disorders).

 

B. Organ on Chip technology platforms

Development of additional platform technology is required for the next generation Organ on Chip models, to improve human cell content, substrates and scaffolds, throughput, readout technologies and complex data analysis.

These platforms are:

  1. 1. Organ on Chip readout platform
    specific readout technologies are required, e.g. enabling 3D real time monitoring of biochemical/cellular reactions
  2.  
  3. 2. Organ on Chip biology platform

- Low/high throughput stem cell differentiation platform
   to discover the right combination of factors for a specific differentiation direction
- Stem cell production platforms
   for high quality production of pluripotent and multipotent stem cells

  1. 3. Organ on Chip technology platform
    1. - device platform and manufacturing technologies
    2.    to develop new modules for Organ on Chip devices, e.g. new microfluidics,
    3.    microfabrication of porous membranes etc.
    4. ‚Äč- Standardized/artificial extracellular matrix platform
    5.    gels of different degrees of stiffness enabling specific molecules to be coupled and released
  2. 4. Organ on Chip data analysis 
    1. - High throughput data analysis platform
      development of complex data analysis software
  3.  
  4. Within these platforms the ‘scalability and manufacturability’ will considered. In order to embed this in an early phase, the activities from the academic groups will incorporate and consult the expertise of the industrial partners.