MSc thesis project proposal

Biodegradable magnetic actuator for mechanical stretching of cells in organs-on-chip

The ultimate goal of organ-on-chip technology is to create organ models that are closer to real organs and more relevant for pharmaceutical and clinical studies. Mechanical stimulation of cells in organ-on-chip devices is therefore needed, in particular in the context of heart, intestines or lungs tissues.
The objective of this project is to develop a new biodegradable actuator for organs-on-chip. Devices made of biodegradable materials are meant to work for a predefined period of time, and then degraded naturally afterwards. In the context of organ-on-chip devices, biodegradable materials are of great interest, because the cells can grow on the porous biodegradable scaffold, they can gradually colonize all the space, while the scaffold gradually disappears, until finally obtaining a tissue entirely made up of cells. The fact that the scaffold can also provide mechanical actuation allows cells to grow in a context very similar to that observed in vivo.

This Master project consists in developing new biodegradable stretchable magnetic composites, and test their magnetic and mechanical responses in vitro. For this purpose, biodegradable elastomers will be synthesised, and microfabrication processes will be developed to structure the composites into actuators shape. The combination of soft biodegradable polymers with magnetic nanoparticles will be investigated. Moreover, an experimental setup will be developed to apply a magnetic field and control the mechanical movement of the actuators. The actuators will be then integrated into an organ-on-chip platform, and tested for actuation in vitro.

Assignment

This experimental project will involve:

  • An extensive review of the state-of-the-art in polymeric electro-mechanical actuators;
  • Conception of fabrication method and material choice;
  • Fabrication of biodegradable magnetic actuator, including development of magnetic setup;
  • Mechanical characterization;
  • Functional testing;
  • Reporting.

Duration: 9 to 12 months
Location: TU Delft, ECTM

Requirements

You are an ambitious hands-on master student from Microelectronics, Biomedical Engineering or Applied Sciences. Experience with microfabrication and soft lithography is preferred. You have good communication skills in English, you are independent and also a team player.

If you are eager to work in a motivating atmosphere with highly skilled colleagues, then send us your CV!

Contact

dr. Clémentine Boutry

Electronic Components, Technology and Materials Group

Department of Microelectronics

Last modified: 2021-09-29