Lab-based produced vascularised tissue for in vitro lab on a chip models of healthy and diseased tissue

Lead Research Organisation: University of Sheffield
Department Name: Materials Science and Engineering


An important research strand in biomaterials is the development of in-lab grown organs, which are increasingly mimicking the structural and biological complexity of human organs. These organs-on-a-chip are increasingly developed as an alternative to the use of animals in pharmaceutical testing. However the lack of perfusion through vascularisation remains an obstacle in the development of physiological tissue-on-a-chip models. Current models using microfluidic perfusion lack sufficient scale and complexity. Ex-vivo tissue slice cultures are also only suitable for very short-term culture. The project will utilise in house developed technology to build an in vitro model of vascularised tissue. This technology incorporates a prototype vascular network in a porous material and allows for vascular outgrowth to occur in a hydrogel-based well where we can place cells, cell spheroids or even small biopsies. We will use perfusion bioreactors to study the vascular outgrowth within the scaffolds to obtain a lab-on-a-chip device that can be used for long term observation of vascularisation in healthy and diseased tissue models. This will be developed to present an in vitro alternative to in vivo testing platforms, such as the mouse dorsal skin fold model.1 This in vitro model will be used to explore the vascularisation of healthy and diseased tissue models. We aim to explore healthy and cancer tissue models. If successful, this device will fill an important unmet need as an in vitro testing platform.


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Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
EP/S022201/1 01/04/2019 30/09/2027
2262871 Studentship EP/S022201/1 04/09/2019 30/09/2023 Caitlin Emma Jackson