2018 Ignite Project: ORGANSENS

Dynamic monitoring of pancreas metabolism by combining nano-optical biosensing to organ on-a-chip technology

Project overview

ORGANSENS was awarded the BIST Ignite Grant in March 2019.

Organ-on-a-chip (OOC) platforms offer new approaches for metabolic disease modelling and drug discovery by providing biologically relevant models of tissues and organs in vitro. As such, OOC devices have the potential to revolutionize the pharmaceutical industry by enabling reliable and highly predictive in vitro testing of drug candidates. Recent advances in miniaturizing microfluidic systems and advanced tissue fabrication procedures have enabled researchers to create multiple tissues on-a-chip with a high degree of control over experimental variables for high-content screening applications. Yet, to fully exploit the potential of these platforms, there is a need to interface them to integrated sensing modules, capable to monitor in real-time their biochemical response to external stimuli, like stress or drugs. The goal of this project is to answer this need, by developing a novel technology based on integrating localized surface plasmon resonance (LSPR) sensing to an OOC setting in order to monitor disease and evaluate drug response in OOC models. As a proof-of-concept, this seeding stage of the collaboration between IBEC and ICFO, will focus on developing a biomimetic OOC integrated device composed of engineered pancreatic islets and develop the necessary LSPR biosensor hardware and software capable to study metabolic diseases. This new platform will be the first step to develop multi-organs tools and study in realtime the metabolic cross-talk within them. Such finding would improve drug testing and benefit the development of new personalized therapies.


Multidisciplinarity within ORGANSENS

One of the strengths of ORGANSENS is the high scientific and technical complementarity of both involved partners, which offers an ideal framework to meet the ambitious goals of the project. IBEC has an extensive expertise in organ-a-chip and biotechnology while ICFO, with a more physics-oriented background, brings stateof-the-art nano-optics and advanced microfluidics. This synergy is strengthened by the complementarity of equipments and experimental set-up. The success of the project will require a continuous interaction between both team in order to properly interface both core technologies. The collaboration will be facilitated by the fact that the IBEC postdoc involved in the project obtained her PhD in the Quidant’s group at ICFO. Eventually, this will ensure a fluid communication, mobility of the young researchers from one lab to another and sharing of equipments / set-up.

More information about ORGANSENS, including an updated abstract as of January 2020 can be downloaded below:


Project members

Ozlem Yavas

PhD Student at ICFO

Jose Garcia Guirado

Postdoctoral Researcher at ICFO

Maria Alejandra Ortega

Postdoctoral Researcher at IBEC

Institutional Members of the Board of Trustees