Controlling the neurovascular microenvironment: from materials to feedback control in microphysiological systems

DRA lecture held by Thomas Winkler, PhD, Technical University of Braunschweig, Germany

A well-controlled microenvironment is paramount for reproducible biomolecular studies. Organs-on-chips are in-vitro cell culture systems that employ microfluidic and biomaterial engineering towards that goal. They combine the advantages of animal models (physiological environment) with those of plastic-dish culture (human cells), and thereby hold exceptional promise in unraveling the biological processes that underlie health and disease. 

With a focus on the neurovascular unit (NVU), which plays a critical biological role in drug delivery, brain homeostasis, and a myriad of disorders, I will present examples of my prior work in this area. This includes one of the first isogenic iPSC-derived NVU-on-chip models, and how integration of online sensors can provide insights into its biological dynamics.

I will further present an outlook on future research directions, in particular my proposal to develop a new generation of organ-chip, one that features feedback-enabled control of the biochemical environment - a critical yet to-date neglected aspect of microenvironmental control - and its potential to elucidate whether and to what extent NVU redox biology plays a causative role in disorders like schizophrenia.

The lecture is organised on behalf of the graduate programme in pharmaceutical sciences, Drug Research Academy, by Professor Jörg P. Kutter, Department of Pharmacy, Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, University of Copenhagen.

The DRA lecture is free of charge and open for attendance by all interested parties. It is not necessary to pre-register.

Map showing pavilion building in the University park

Map showing the location of rooms in the pavilion building