Cloud Micro Project

3D Cell Culture, Observation and Manipulation

The goal of our research is the develop technologies and methodologies that allow for the study and analysis of tumor structures and their properties. In our current research we are working with live cell cultures from multiple cancer cell lines to create tumors spheroids. Tumor spheroids are an in vitro 3D platform that have been used for drug delivery studies, analysis of molecular changes  and 3D tumor formation. Image below are the growth of (a) MCF7 (breast tumor cells) spheroid, and (b) MCF10A (normal breast epithelial cells) spheroid.

A key element of our project involves education and the desemination of our work online. To that end, we have created this web site which includes educational resources as well as a facility to observe our research and even manipulate our devices remotely. Go to Online Imaging Systems: Click Here

Micro Manipulation and Analysis

Our approaches rely on strong combinations of biological science, optics, microfabrication, electromechanics, and information technology. We have developed micromechanical chop-sticks that can characterize mechanical properties of microtissues. See the below images. The stiffness of the microtissue is found by studying bending of the chop-sticks through image analysis. Read our recent publication for details.

We can measure the stiffness of microtissues sized ~100 micrometer to 1 mm. We are open to collaboration. If you are interested in the study, pleaes contact the PI.

The motion of chop-sticks can be controlled by the Leap Motion controller.

Video clip (2.8MB)
The tool is really easy to use. In the photograph below, BME senior Jack Peters operates the tweezers with future inventors attending the Connecticut Invention Convention.

Cloud Micro Research for the Classroom

The modern biomedical researcher uses tools which require interdisciplinary cooperation. In our research, we work as a team to develop computer controlled devices which facilitate 3D cell culture observation and modelling. Exposing students to this style of cooperative, interdisciplinary work has many benefits. Students can observe and control the tools being used in our lab and observe a style of colaboration which is at the core of successful academic and scientific endeavor. To support educators we have written a series of lessons and created an online explorartion of the micropalpation process.

BME undergraduate students Paula, Yannis and Alex visited Howell Cheney Technical High School and gave a lecture on 'Stiffness analysis of biomaterials.' In the lecture, they explained principles of biomaterial characterization. Operation of the micromanipulator at Hoshino lab was also demonstrated through the internet.

Micropalpation Overview
Micropalpation Simulation Activity
2015 JOULE Fellowship Project

Biomedical Engineering Department
School of Engineering
University of Connecticut