At the ME Seminar I will present the research my group has pioneered with combining acoustic manipulation technique and droplet microfluidics. The technology can be used to control the position of cells and particles inside aqueous droplets to increase complexity of on-chip bio/chemical assays. Recently, we have demonstrated that the method can also be used with hydrogel droplets and whole cell-laden hydrogel constructs.
Another research line in my group is focused on developing novel microfluidic tools for 3D cell cultures, so-called organs-on-chips, that can be used as alternatives to animal testing for drug development and basic biomedical research. Specifically, we have looked at different approaches to control the physical and chemical properties of these hydrogel scaffolds using microfabrication tools.
Current research focus, and what has brought me to UCSB, is to combine these two approaches to develop high-throughput microfluidic platforms for organoid generation and addressing some of the technological bottlenecks faced within the field today. One such problem is how to supply the cells in the middle of the organoid with nutrients as the cells differentiate and the construct grows. Here, we are exploring the use of 3D printed artificial blood vessels prepared in hydrogels.