PhD Thesis: Development of organ-on-chip technology with integrated microsensors

PhD Thesis: Development of organ-on-chip technology with integrated microsensors

Microtechnology, Biomedical Engineering, Chemistry, Physics

Motivation and Topic

The NMI develops systems to investigate biological functions, diseases, toxicity and drug development. Microphysiological systems are microfluidic devices which reproduce organs or tissues (e.g. liver, blood–brain barrier, brain, cancer) on a chip (organ-on-a-chip). Microelectrode arrays enable recording and stimulation of electrically active neurons and cardiac cells. Our work in these fields extends from R&D to commercial production (, and our technology is applied in academic and industry labs worldwide.

Sensors in microfluidic organ-on-chip allow readout of physiological parameters, such as chemical concentrations or bioelectrical activity. Integration of these sensors in a high-throughput, multiwell organ-on-chip format is necessary for adoption by clinical research and the pharmaceutical industry.

In this interdisciplinary project, sensors (optical, electrical or electrochemical) will be integrated in established organ-on-chip systems. Evaluation with a blood–brain model will be supported by in-house and external partners. Development of platform technology should allow widespread application in the microphysiological systems field.

We offer

An exciting, interdisciplinary topic. In-house collaboration with experts in micro- and nanotechnology, cell biology, sensor and microfluidic technology. Cooperation in an established network of academic and industrial partners. Requirements M.Sc. or equivalent in biomedical engineering, microtechnology, chemistry or physics, interest in biological research, experimental aptitude, capable of independent work.

Relevant literature

  • Beer, M. et al. A novel microfluidic 3D platform for culturing pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma cells: comparison with in vitro cultures and in vivo xenografts. Sci. Rep. 7, 1325 (2017).
  • Bieg, C. et al. Introduction to polymer-based solid-contact ion-selective electrodes—basic concepts, practical considerations, and current research topics. Anal. Bioanal. Chem. 409, 45–61 (2017).
  • Gerwig, R. et al. PEDOT-CNT composite microelectrodes for recording and electrostimulation applications: fabrication, morphology, and electrical properties. Front. Neuroeng. 5, 8 (2012).
  • Hagmeyer, B. et al. Towards plug and play filling of microfluidic devices by utilizing networks of capillary stop valves. Biomicrofluidics 8, 056501 (2014).
  • Samba, R. et al. Application of PEDOT-CNT Microelectrodes for Neurotransmitter Sensing. Electroanalysis 26, 548–555 (2014).
  • Schütte, J. et al. ‘Artificial micro organs’—a microfluidic device for dielectrophoretic assembly of liver sinusoids. Biomed. Microdevices 13, 493–501 (2011).