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BME.15 Vacuum Chuck for Brain Organoids

Team Members Heading link

  • Shaheer Anwar
  • Rodrigo Cabral
  • Sayali Daware
  • Autumn Maldonado
  • Nisha Suresh

Project Description Heading link

Aims: Previous research utilized 3D mesostructures to characterize brain organoids’ mechanical and chemical properties. The current 3D mesostructure design consists of a well that can reversibly open and close to restrain the brain organoid mechanically. Although the design introduces reversible immobilization of cells, the structure exerts an unwanted deformation on the brain organoid. This force skews the data when researchers test an organoid through nanoindentation. Our objective is to present a solution that reversibly immobilizes an organoid in media with the direct characterization of its mechanical properties and no unwanted shear force.

Methods: The proposed solution involves a two-chambered petri dish system, in which the top and bottom dishes are superimposed. The bottom dish has an outlet, while the top one has an inlet, both of which are connected to a peristaltic pump. Laminar flow would occur in the bottom petri dish. As a result of a drilled hole at the intersection of the petri dish system, the strain will be the largest at the interface where the bottom and top petri dishes intersect. The pump exerts a pressure of approximately 0.12 MPa that aims to immobilize the organoid. To quantify the immobilization of the organoid, the translational displacement in millimeters and the angular displacement in degrees are measured using ImageJ and an aerial camera, both with and without suction pressure. Through ImageJ, we found that we can measure the x and y coordinates of the organoid before and after prodding. Subtracting the point of indentation from the starting position resulted in minimal movement of the organoid. A similar analysis was done with respect to the degrees of rotation and minimal rotation was seen.

Conclusion: This vacuum chuck device is a more suitable alternative to the 3D mesostructure for testing applications that require reversible immobilization with minimal deformation, ensuring precise testing through nanoindentation. Future iterations of this device could include the use of a stronger pump to increase laminar flow and varying hole sizes in the middle of the top petri dish to account for different organoid sizes. Testing also needs to be done with brain organoids to determine if they become immobilized in this device.

Project Video Heading link