The incoming project phase has started. Back in Germany the technology has by now successfully been transferred from Japan:
In order to assemble biohybrid micro devices by optical means, it is necessary to first investigate cell growth conditions as well as design and biocompatibility of the MEMS. The first research period successfully addressed this challenge by answering the following two related scientific questions:
- What are the cell growth conditions and co-culture protocols for multi-cell patterns in order to keep the initially induced order during growth?
For this purpose, a novel method for the optical positioning and long term co-culture of multicellular biohybrid microsystems was established. The initially induced order could be kept by geometrically containing the cell migration.
- How can we induce a material-independent bio-compatibility of the MEMS bricks by surface patterning? The intrinsic biocompatibility of the microstructures has been achieved by developing a novel microfabrication technique which enables to fully remove toxic agents such as polymerization radical and solvents.
Based on these results it was possible to develop a microstructure which promotes the cell adhesion as well as the guided cell migration and differentiation. This enabled the microfabrication of advanced muscle driven micro device (Gullo et al., 29th IEEE International Conference on Micro Electro Mechanical Systems, p 721, 2016, DOI: 10.1109/MEMSYS.2016.7421729).
In the following project phase the next generation of bio-compatible MEMS containing electric components will be fabricated and interfaced with neuronal cells. This will allow address the muscle driven actuators in a more precise manner.