Chips for Cells: Microfabrication Technologies for Tissue Engineering and Microphysiological Systems

A special issue of Micromachines (ISSN 2072-666X). This special issue belongs to the section "B2: Biofabrication and Tissue Engineering".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 October 2021) | Viewed by 10329

Special Issue Editor

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Microfabrication and microfluidic technologies have shown spectacular growth over the last three decades, and have sparked many developments in a wide spectrum of on-chip bioassays, including those for in vitro diagnostics, drug delivery and infectious diseases, among other things. However, the progress of chip-based cell culture applications has been relatively slower, with limited diffusion in biomedical practice compared to other biological applications, such as DNA microarray technology. This is partially due to the dynamic nature of the biological processes in cell growth, which require the continuous monitoring of the cell environment, and the necessity of maintaining high cell viability for extended periods. It has been shown that the utilization of microfabrication and microfluidics in cell biology practice enables a high spatial resolution of cell positioning and patterning, and opens up new avenues to increase the resolution of analysis and sampling throughput, which push the boundaries of cell biology towards more advances. Furthermore, miniaturization would enable the integration of process control, sensors, imaging systems, and other analytical components. Organ-on-a-chip (OOC) is a sophisticated form of cell culture architecture that ensures precise cellular positioning and cell polarization similar to in vivo by providing a template on which cells can reproduce a complex assembly, and it also mimics actual tissue organization. Increasing the biological complexity, i.e., employing more cell types or adding additional organ(s) to the model, would require a more complex fluidic network, hence increasing the complexity of the OOC device. OOC is an engineering-driven technology and has benefited from well-established multi-engineering disciplines, including microfabrication, microfluidics, microscopy, sensors, etc. The recent, convergence of 3D (bio) printing with microfluidics and OOCs gives extra momentum in the direction of technology design and commercialization. Among the major problems that still hinder the progress of OOC device development is the material used for fabrication and the lack of standards that govern the possible mass production of chips. We are delighted to announce this Special Issue entitled "Chips for Cells: Microfabrication Technologies for Tissue Engineering and Microphysiological Systems" that intends to include the most relevant work in microfabrication/manufacturing technologies for cell/tissue culture. This topic will highlight the new advances in this growing field, with an emphasis on the interface between device engineering and cell culture, and how the engineering principle can be used to meet the unmet needs and bridge the existing technological gap between in vivo and in vitro studies. We invite researchers working in this area to submit full-length research papers, communication, and review articles to meet the goal of this Special Issue.

Topics include:

  1. Microfluidic design and simulation for cell culture and organ-on-a-chip;
  2. Fabrication materials;
  3. Rapid prototyping;
  4. Device fabrication techniques (lithography, soft lithography, micromachining, laser cutting, 3D printing, etc.);
  5. Membrane technology for tissue–tissue interfacing;
  6. Fluid handling and automation in cell culture systems;
  7. In situ measurement of cellular microenvironments;
  8. Sensor integration within cell culture devices;
  9. In-line monitoring of cell cultures with optical and electrochemical sensors;
  10. 3D (bio)printing.

Dr. Qasem Ramadan
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Micromachines is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2600 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • in vitro
  • cell culture
  • microfabrication
  • organ-on-a-chip
  • integration
  • tissue engineering

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Published Papers (3 papers)

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Research

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13 pages, 4583 KiB  
Article
Design and Fabrication of Low-Cost Microfluidic Chips and Microfluidic Routing System for Reconfigurable Multi-(Organ-on-a-Chip) Assembly
Micromachines 2021, 12(12), 1542; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi12121542 - 11 Dec 2021
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 2624
Abstract
A low-cost, versatile, and reconfigurable fluidic routing system and chip assembly have been fabricated and tested. The platform and its accessories were fabricated in-house without the need for costly and specialized equipment nor specific expertise. An agarose-based artificial membrane was integrated into the [...] Read more.
A low-cost, versatile, and reconfigurable fluidic routing system and chip assembly have been fabricated and tested. The platform and its accessories were fabricated in-house without the need for costly and specialized equipment nor specific expertise. An agarose-based artificial membrane was integrated into the chips and employed to test the chip-to-chip communication in various configurations. Various chip assemblies were constructed and tested which demonstrate the versatile utility of the fluidic routing system that enables the custom design of the chip-to-chip communication and the possibility of fitting a variety of (organ-on-a-chip)-based biological models with multicell architectures. The reconfigurable chip assembly would enable selective linking/isolating the desired chip/compartment, hence allowing the study of the contribution of specific cell/tissue within the in vitro models. Full article
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14 pages, 3702 KiB  
Article
Passive Control of Silane Diffusion for Gradient Application of Surface Properties
Micromachines 2021, 12(11), 1360; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi12111360 - 04 Nov 2021
Viewed by 1517
Abstract
Liquid lithography represents a robust technique for fabricating three-dimensional (3D) microstructures on a two-dimensional template. Silanization of a surface is often a key step in the liquid lithography process and is used to alter the surface energy of the substrate and, consequently, the [...] Read more.
Liquid lithography represents a robust technique for fabricating three-dimensional (3D) microstructures on a two-dimensional template. Silanization of a surface is often a key step in the liquid lithography process and is used to alter the surface energy of the substrate and, consequently, the shape of the 3D microfeatures produced. In this work, we present a passive technique that allows for the generation of silane gradients along the length of a substrate. The technique relies on a secondary diffusion chamber with a single opening, leading to a directional introduction of silane to the substrate via passive diffusion. The secondary chamber geometry influences the deposited gradient, which is shown to be well captured by Monte Carlo simulations that incorporate the passive diffusion and grafting processes. The technique ultimately allows the user to generate a range of substrate wettabilities on a single chip, enhancing throughput for organ-on-a-chip applications by mimicking the spatial variability of tissue topographies present in vivo. Full article
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Review

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54 pages, 2756 KiB  
Review
A Decade of Organs-on-a-Chip Emulating Human Physiology at the Microscale: A Critical Status Report on Progress in Toxicology and Pharmacology
Micromachines 2021, 12(5), 470; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi12050470 - 21 Apr 2021
Cited by 19 | Viewed by 5315
Abstract
Organ-on-a-chip technology has the potential to accelerate pharmaceutical drug development, improve the clinical translation of basic research, and provide personalized intervention strategies. In the last decade, big pharma has engaged in many academic research cooperations to develop organ-on-a-chip systems for future drug discoveries. [...] Read more.
Organ-on-a-chip technology has the potential to accelerate pharmaceutical drug development, improve the clinical translation of basic research, and provide personalized intervention strategies. In the last decade, big pharma has engaged in many academic research cooperations to develop organ-on-a-chip systems for future drug discoveries. Although most organ-on-a-chip systems present proof-of-concept studies, miniaturized organ systems still need to demonstrate translational relevance and predictive power in clinical and pharmaceutical settings. This review explores whether microfluidic technology succeeded in paving the way for developing physiologically relevant human in vitro models for pharmacology and toxicology in biomedical research within the last decade. Individual organ-on-a-chip systems are discussed, focusing on relevant applications and highlighting their ability to tackle current challenges in pharmacological research. Full article
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