Developing a microfluidic chip for biomaterial testing
To be able to test biomaterials on a large scale, a so-called ‘organ-on-chip’ offers new possibilities. This is a small plate that mimics an organ or tissue, on which new biomaterials can be tested directly in a physical environment. To develop this chip and to prepare it for a broad introduction and use, a strong partnership is required between both academic and industrial partners.
BIO-MAT creates a brand new microfluidic chip: the ‘organ-on-chip 2.0’. This chip is sown with stem cells to mimic a body’s own organ or tissue, provided with supply and discharge of micro-fluid and sensitive sensors to perform measurements. The innovative aspect of this chip is the three-dimensional (3D) environment that is formed, in contrast to classic cell culture plates in which cells or tissues grow on a flat surface. Moreover, microfluidics - very small channels in which liquids are transported - mimic the transport of body fluids. To demonstrate the functionality of this revolutionary technology, demonstrators will be built based on three types of clinical applications: bone, muscle and on-chip vascularized bone or muscle.
“The BIO-MAT project is clearly aligned with our wider organizational purpose of using our scientific competences to create brighter lives.” – Ynze Mengerink, Principal Scientist, DSM Materials Science Center.
The project partners include Universiteit Maastricht (MERLN Institute for Technology-Inspired Regenerative Medicine), Mimetas, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Xplore Instruments, Leids Universitair Medisch Centrum, Tenco DDM, Interuniversitair Micro-Elektronica Centrum – IMEC and DSM.
This project is established by a contribution of the European Interreg Flanders-The Netherlands program that stimulates innovation, sustainable energy, a healthy environment, and the labor market by means of cross-border projects. Interreg contributes 50% of the budget. The provinces of North-Brabant, Antwerp, East-Flanders, and Flemish-Brabant offer additional funding.
Driving regional employment
The BIOMAT project has made an important contribution to the further development of the Flemish-Dutch border region as a top location for the development of biomedical materials.