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New paper published in Science and Technology of Advanced Materials

The article “Astrocyte 3D culture and bioprinting using peptide functionalized hyaluronan hydrogels” was published in Advanced Healthcare Materials today.

3D neuronal cell culture places stringent requirements on the materials. Here we present a hydrogel based on hyaluronan (abundant in the brain), modified with small adhesion-cue peptides, and examine its ability to support astrocytic cultures. With a cyclic RGD peptide modification in particular, primary astrocytes interact well with the hydrogel in 3D culture. We moreover demonstrate 3D printing as a first step towards more advanced tissue constructs.

New paper published in Biosensors

The article “Metabolic Assessment of Human Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells-Derived Astrocytes and Fetal Primary Astrocytes: Lactate and Glucose Turnover” was published in Biosensors today.

Astrocytes play an important role in brain metabolism. In this paper, we characterize the glucose uptake and lactate secretion of these cells, comparing primary astrocytes with stem cell-derived astrocytes. We find that the latter show similar metabolic ratios as the primary cells, even if overall rates are lower. Our study pioneered the use of an easy-to-use, off-the-shelf flow-through biosensor for these metabolic assessments, demonstrating the feasibility of future integration into microfluidic devices for continuous monitoring.

New paper published in Advanced Healthcare Materials

The article “Bioorthogonally Cross-Linked Hyaluronan–Laminin Hydrogels for 3D Neuronal Cell Culture and Biofabrication” was published in Advanced Healthcare Materials today.

3D neuronal cell culture places stringent requirements on the materials. Here we present a hydrogel based on hyaluronan (abundant in the brain), crosslinked with laminin (important for neuronal adhesion and development). The gel supports spontaneous 3D differentiation of neural stem cells. It also proves suitable for protecting these cells during syringe extrusion, a key requirement for bioprinting as well as for therapeutic injection.

New paper published in ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces

The article “Sorption of Neuropsychopharmaca in Microfluidic Materials for In Vitro Studies” was published in ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces today. The study highlights the impact of peristaltic pump tubing in sorption of hydrophobic compounds. mainly consisting of neuropsychopharmaca. The article further displays that the use of PDMS or other device construction methods OSTE+ or PC/PSA had a similar effect on the sorption, whereas the material of the tubing had a stronger dependence on sorption as compared to the device material. This signifies that the tubing and associated materials deserve similar attention as other device materials used for in-vitro studies.

Jeroen Bugter joins the team

Today, Jeroen Bugter joins the µ4Life team for his PhD. Jeroen received her M.Sc. in Biomedical Engineering from the University of Twente with a thesis titled “In vitro modeling of cardiac arrhythmia: Geometrically constrained tissue culture and acoustic pacing with ultrasound.” He will be working on developing sensors and microfluidics for the study of neuropsychiatric disorders.

New paper published in Small

The article “Continuous Monitoring Reveals Protective Effects of N-Acetylcysteine Amide on an Isogenic Microphysiological Model of the Neurovascular Unit” was published in Small today. The article reports a microphysiological blood-brain barrier model that captures the multicellular interactions of iPS-derived cells. The integrated electrical sensors, facilitated by PDMS-free fabrication, allow for real-time monitoring of how the barrier responds to oxidative stress and antioxidant prophylaxis. The sensor integrated hiBBB-on-chip displayed an immediate utility in the screening of drugs modulating the barrier by providing readout about the temporal pharmacodynamic profiles.

The article was also featured on the inside Back cover of the journal.

Franziska Buck joins the group as the first PhD student

Today, Franziska Buck joins the µ4Life team as our first PhD student. Franziska received her M.Sc. in Cellular Biochemistry from Bielefeld University with a thesis titled “Transcriptional programming and characterisation of human sensory neurons from induced pluripotent stem cells for modelling pain-related disorders.” She will be working on developing iPSC-based cellular models of the schizophrenia-specific neurovascular unit.