Engineering systemic organ interactions with microfluidics
Human physiology and pathophysiology, such as such as in metabolic diseases and microbiome-host interactions, often involve systemic interactions between multiple tissues. Multi-organ perfusion systems offer the unique opportunity to mimic different physiological systemic interactions. However, existing multi-organ culture platforms have limited flexibility in specifying the culture conditions, device architectures, and fluidic connectivity simultaneously. Modularization provides an attractive approach to overcome these limitations. To this end, my lab has developed a Tetris-Like (TILE) modular microfluidic platform, which enables a ‘stick-n-play’ approach to assemble planar perfusion circuits that are amenable to both bioimaging-based and analytical measurements. A myriad of tissue culture and flow control TILE modules were successfully constructed with backward compatibility. Finally, I will demonstrate applications in constructing recirculating multi-organ systems to emulate liver-mediated bioactivation of nutraceuticals and prodrugs to modulate their therapeutic efficacies in the context of atherosclerosis and cancer. This platform greatly facilitates the integration of existing organs-on-chip models to provide an intuitive and flexible way for users to configure different multi-organ perfusion systems.