To evaluate heart cell electrophysiology in three dimensions, the researchers from Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) and Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University have created an organ-on-an-electronic chip platform that utilizes bioelectric detectors. These 3D, self-rolling biosensor arrays coil up over the spheroid tissues of heart cells to create an “organ-on-e-chip,” allowing researchers to explore how cells interact in multicellular structures such as the heart.
The development and assessment of the effectiveness of drugs for the treatment of the disease can be assisted by the organ-e-chip approach—perhaps instead of testing on animal-tissues, allow researchers to screen medicines and toxins directly on human-like tissues. The link between the electrical signals of the heart and disease can be highlighted with the help of this platform, such as arrhythmias.
The platform ‘organ-e-chip’ begins as a tiny, flat rectangle, just like the microscale slap bracelet. A microscale slap bracelet begins as a stiff, ruler-like framework, however, when you release the tension it rapidly coils around the wrist.
The ‘organ-on-e-chip’ begins with a similar process. An array of sensors, either made of a metallic electrode or graphene sensors, are pinned to chip’s surface by the researchers, then the ‘sacrificial layer’ is carved off which is basically a layer of germanium. After the removal of the sacrificial layer, the biosensor array is liberated from its hold and breaks away from the surface in a barrel-shaped structure.
Researchers were able to develop evidence of a concept and test it on 3D microforms created cardiomyocyte spheroids with the help of collaborations with the labs of BME/MSE Professor Adam Feinberg and former CMU faculty Jimmy Hsia, now Dean of the Graduate College of Nanyang Technology University in Singapore. This research was put into life by the support of the National Science Foundation CAREER Award and the Office of Naval Research Young Investigator Program.