It’s almost fall semester and Team Micro is gearing up for our final year in our project in preparation for our senior thesis!
This past year, with the support of our sponsors from our Launch UMD campaign in October, our team achieved many important milestones. We were able to modify our manufacturing process with further testing and trials, allowing us to develop a more physiologically relevant design. With this we were able to successfully print a fenestrated tube inside the microchannel in our device. This better resembles the fenestration of the liver sinusoid that allows nutrients to flow to the cells surrounding it-- the environment we aim to mimic with our model.
We also had the opportunity to present our research at Gemstone annual Junior Colloquia in November, where we were able to display our progress in research thus far. In the spring semester, we had the chance to present a poster of our research at Undergraduate Research Day alongside the other Gemstone teams in our cohort.
This fall semester is set to bring many new strides for our team as well. Our abstract, “Designed Fenestration of a Nano 3D Printed Liver Sinusoid on a Chip” was recently accepted for a poster presentation at The 22nd Annual Conference on Miniaturized Systems for Chemistry and Life Sciences (MicroTAS) in Kaohsiung, Taiwan! The conference will continue in the series of conferences to serve as the premier forum for reporting research results in microfluidics, microfabrication, and nanotechnology for life sciences and chemistry. We are eagerly looking forward to sending two of our hardworking team members, Katherine and Morgan, to present our research at the conference on behalf of our team in November.
To continue our research further this fall, our Cells sub-team will begin culturing liver cells in our devices to observe their behavior in the microfluidic environment. This will allow us to improve our model design even further, providing us data to assure us of its stability and biocompatibility. Alongside this process, our fabrication sub-teams will continue refining our design and manufacturing chips to eventually achieve a design that is both an optimal environment for the cells as well as easily reproducible.
We greatly appreciate the support from our Launch UMD sponsors that has helped us continue to make strides in our research.
We can’t wait to further update you on our progress and conference in the fall semester and we look forward to presenting our research at Gemstone Senior Thesis Conference on April 12, 2019!
Help support our team in our goal of fabricating a more physiologically accurate microfluidic liver on a chip device! Till November 16th, we are raising money for lab equipment and materials that will help us manufacture and test prototypes of our devices. The equipment and supplies are expensive so we would greatly appreciate your support! Your donation would be tax deductible and helping us in our research to make pharmaceutical drug testing more efficient and less costly. Thank you in advance!
Check out our launch link to make a donation and learn more: https://www.launch.umd.edu/project/6183
We enjoyed being able to present our research at Maryland Manufacturing Day last week! We got to meet many other industry professionals and researchers as well as explain and get feedback on our model and vision of our research. We also got to meet Maryland Governor, Larry Hogan! Thank you for having us!
The semester is over and summer is in session, but our research hasn’t stopped! With members of diverse majors, our teammates are also pursuing their interests apart from Gemstone. Check out some of the exciting things our teammates are up to this summer!
Katherine, a member of the Nanoscribe sub-team, is working at the Terrapin Works 3D printing lab on campus at UMD. Here she will continue to work on Team MICRO's research as well as additional projects in conjunction with other UMD labs. In August, she will be a Camp Leader for the Gemstone Program’s Gems Camp for incoming Gemstone Freshman.
Andrew is a member of our FabLab sub-team and is interning at NIH this summer. He is working specifically in the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) on a liver disease project. He’s also enjoying his summer hanging out with friends and waiting for Game of Thrones to start in July.
Cara, also on the Nanoscribe sub-team, is shadowing three different doctors at Frederick Memorial Hospital to help her decide whether to pursue a medical degree. In addition, she is also continuing her side hobby of pottery.
Vishy, a member of the Fluid Simulation sub-team, is learning to use software that will help us model fluid diffusion through our 3D printed micro channels to surrounding cells. Apart from Gemstone, he is also shadowing GI and cardiology specialists and working as an SAT tutor for local high school students.
Sahana, a member of the FabLab sub-team, is interning at Google this summer in Mountain View, California. She is an Engineering Practicum intern on the Google Play Search Infrastructure team and is working on improving the interface that developers use to test Play search results.
Morgan, a member of of the Nanoscribe sub-team, is interning at the University of Maryland School of Medicine on a genetics project and shadowing doctors at the University of Maryland Medical Center.
In addition, we are all also working towards our upcoming presentation in November at Gemstone's Junior Colloquia, where we will present the preliminary findings in our research. We wish you all a great summer and look forward to presenting to you all at Junior Colloquia!
For the past few weeks, our team has been hard at work preparing for the lab research that we will begin next semester. To date, we have completed a thorough literature review, developed a methodology, and presented a brief proposal to our peers and colleagues in the Gemstone program. As the semester begins to wind down, we will continue working through winter break to prepare our final proposal, which will be presented to a panel of experts in the field next February.
Recently, the entire team took a tour of the TerrapinWorks facility in the Glenn L. Martin Engineering Building, which is home to the 3D printer that we will be using for our research. The Nanoscribe 3D printer uses laser lithography to print structures with a resolution on the order of nanometers. Yes - nanometers. We will take advantage of this technology to develop structures in our model on a physiologically accurate scale. We also loved seeing all the amazing things that can be fabricated using additive manufacturing technology!
In addition, some of our team members visited the FabLab in the Jeong H. Kim Engineering Building, a clean room that is home to many types of microfabrication equipment. We will be using these facilities to develop the larger base structure of our model. We can't wait to get started on the next phase of our research!
Welcome to our first blog post! Team MICRO is already hard at work this semester, specifically at our team meetings where we share our ideas and collaborate with our mentor, Dr. Sochol. The main focus of the first few weeks of this semester is writing our literature review, which is a summary of previous work in the organ-on-a-chip field. In the future, we will use this information to improve our experimental design by building on previous research methods. Only 950 days until Thesis Conference!