A novel microphysiological system with integrated biomimetic scaffolds as an advanced in vitro model of the endocrine pancreas

Financing, programme, call: 

Public call for the (co-)financing of research projects in 2022 – ARRS

Coordination: 

Marko Milojević

Duration 1.10.2022 – 30.9.2024 

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Short description: 

Reference number: 

Z3-4529

We will develop a novel microphysiological platform optimized for integrating 3D-bioprinted biomimetic scaffolds with in situ embedded pancreatic islets of Langerhans in vitro modeling of the endocrine pancreas. The approach combines 3D-bioprinted biomimetic scaffolds incubated under dynamic environmental conditions of a microphysiological system for the first time. The developed system will support optimal islet viability and functionality by providing the structural, mechanical, and biochemical requirements while ensuring physiologically relevant microenvironmental conditions and the continuous diffusion of nutrients, metabolites, and key soluble factors, leading to the formation of complex biochemical gradients required for their long-term endocrine function.

Role of MF: 

Application of advanced biomedical engineering techniques (3D bioprinting, core/shell printing, microphysiological systems) and systematic functional, analytical methods (e.g., measurement of proinflammatory chemokines by multiplex ELISA, nanotomography, confocal imaging of calcium dynamics on “artificial tissue slices”) for the generation and validation of a new in vitro model of the endocrine pancreas.

Figure: Schematic representation of a postdoctoral project. 

Schematic representation of the envisaged work packages of the project. From the development and 3D bioprinting of advanced biomimetic scaffolds with in situ embedded islets of Langerhans, through their incorporation and long-term incubation in the dynamic environment of a microphysiological system, to the application of advanced analysis techniques for the functional analysis of the islets and the validation of the in vitro system.