My group, ‘Biosensors for Bioengineering’ is focused in a new line of research that has become of extreme importance in the last years. My idea is to integrate biosensor technology and nanotechnology with stem cell research and with tissue engineering. Engineered tissues are integrated with biosensing technology to obtain microdevices (microtissues and ‘Multi-Organ-on-a-Chip’ (multi-OOC)) for detecting cellular responses to external stimuli, monitoring the quality of the microenvironment, and supporting diverse cellular requirements.
Existing on-chip tissue models represent a single organ, preventing investigations on a drug's systemic effect. This research on 3D-functional engineered tissues is expected to develop knowledge of tissue construction and their functions and relation with some human diseases. Integration of fully functional tissues with microscale biosensor technology allowed us to obtain OOC. These chips could be used in pharmaceutical assays and could be a step toward the ultimate goal of producing in vitro drug testing systems crucial to the medicine and pharmaceutical industry. Now, my group is developing new non-invasive real time sensing technologies to monitor microtissues and organoids. Full functional tissues are incorporated to a multi-organ approach, integrating microarchitecture and microorganization of cells, and moreover, a 3D environment that confers to the tissue their functional characteristic (e.g., contraction, endocrine secretion), being able to mimic the physiological conditions. The expected impact of the present research is both scientific and technological. Given the absence of equivalent technologies we are attracting the interest of several laboratories and hospitals. In addition to the technological impact of this project, we also provide a thorough study of factors regulating metabolic diseases and functional behavior in the proposed biomimetic, tissue-like context.