Designing a novel microfluidic device to mimic the cortical microarchitecture of the brain and image cell-cell interactions

Project Title: Designing a novel microfluidic device to mimic the cortical microarchitecture of the brain and image cell-cell interactions

Project Mentors:

  • Primary Faculty Mentor: Lohitash Karumbaiah

Affiliation: University of Georgia, Regenerative Bioscience Center

Ph: 706-542-2017

Email: lohitash@uga.edu

Website: http://www.karumbaiahlab.org; http://www.rbc.uga.edu

 

  • Secondary Faculty Mentors:
    • Leidong Mao

Affiliation: University of Georgia, College of Engineering

Ph: 706-542-1871

Email: mao@uga.edu

Website: http://magnet.engr.uga.edu

  • Peter Kner

Affiliation: University of Georgia, College of Engineering

706-542-8966

Email: kner@engr.uga.edu

Website: http://knerlab.engr.uga.edu/

 

  • Graduate Student mentor: Min Kyoung Sun

Affiliation: University of Georgia, Regenerative Bioscience Center

Ph: 412-980-7919

Email: ms91136@uga.edu

 

Project Description:

The cerebral cortex is organized into six individual layers that are composed of distinct cellular populations, and which are responsible for regulating complex functions. The intricate microarchitecture of the cerebral cortex is often compromised after injury and disease leading to neuronal dysfunction and loss of function. In this project, we propose to design a microfluidic device that can be used to compartmentalize cell-laden hydrogel matrices into distinct layers, mimicking the layered microarchitecture of the cerebral cortex. The interaction between cellular components of the different layers with and without exposure to neurotoxic/excitotoxic agents will subsequently be measured using light sheet fluorescence microscopy (LSFM), which allows for the high-resolution imaging of cells encapsulated in thick (~100 ┬Ám) hydrogel matrices. This approach will help evaluate neuronal and glial response to neurotoxic/excitotoxic agents and serve as platform to screen potential neurotherapeutics.

 

REU Student Role and Responsibility:

The student will aid in the microfluidic device design and light-sheet imaging of hydrogel encapsulated cells. He/she will be responsible for maintaining neural stem cell cultures, hydrogel encapsulation, and immunohistochemical staining. The student will also have the opportunity to process/analyze obtained images.

 

Required skills or courses:

Prior experience in cell culture, microfluidic device design, and a basic understanding of microscopy are desired but not required.

 

Expected Outcome for REU student:

The student will be acknowledged in any resulting journal publications.