“Biologically Inspired Engineering: From Mechanotherapeutics to Human Organs-on-Chips”

Seminar | February 21 | 3:30-4:30 p.m. | 105 Stanley Hall

 Donald E. Ingber, M.D., Ph.D., Harvard University

 Bioengineering (BioE)

In this presentation, I will describe work we have been carrying out at the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard that I head, which leverages biological design principles to develop new engineering innovations. I will highlight recent advances that my team has made in the engineering of “Organs-on-Chips”— microfluidic devices lined by living human cells created with computer microchip manufacturing techniques that recapitulate organ-level structure and functions as a way to replace animal testing for drug development, mechanistic discovery, and personalized medicine. I will review recent advances we have made in the engineering of multiple organ chips, including lung, gut, kidney, bone marrow, and blood-brain barrier chips, and in their use to develop human disease models and discover new therapeutics. I will also describe our efforts to integrate these organ chips into a ‘human body-on-chips’, and to engineer an automated instrument for real-time analysis of cellular responses to pharmaceuticals, chemicals, and toxins. I will also summarize other examples of bioinspired nanotechnologies in development at the Institute, including mechanically activated clot-busting nanotherapeutics that target to vascular occlusion sites like artificial platelets, a dialysis-like therapeutic device for cleansing blood of pathogens and toxins in patients with sepsis, and a biologically inspired surface coating for medical devices that reduces the need for soluble anticoagulants.