Smart Nanostructured Hydrogel Systems for Generation of Contractile Cardiac Organoids

People involved: Marco Rasponi, Paola Occhetta, Roberta Visone, Matteo Moretti (GSD), Laura Cipolla (BICOCCA), Laura Russo(BICOCCA)

Funding source: CARIPLO Foundation

Grant number: 2012-0891

Funding period: 2013 - 2015

Partners: Politecnico di Milano, Gruppo Ospedaliero San Donato Foundation (GSD); Università di Milano Bicocca (BICOCCA), Harvard-MIT Health Sciences & Technology (HST)

Goals of this project is to develop and validate a novel hydrogel-based cell microenvironment able to favor human adult stem cell differentiation into contractile cardiac organoids. To this purpose, we plan to develop a highly automated microfluidic device fabricated by soft lithography using PDMS, to provide to cultured cells biochemical, electrical and mechanical stimulations in a high throughput regime. Biochemical stimulation will be provided by developing a microfluidic platform based on the well-established microfluidic Large Scale Integration (mLSI) technology, embedding novel formulations of cell-laden hydrogels (Smart “bio-active” hybrid hydrogels), capable to drive the differentiation toward the cardiac tissue.

Electro-mechanical stimulation will be made possible by implementing a novel idea based upon the injection of flexible 3D polymeric electrodes in microchannels. A multichamber device will be finally developed and a variety of combinations will be exploited in order to differentiate adipose-derived mesenchymal stem cells into 3D contractile cardiac organoids.