Organs-on-Chips and Organoids: Best of Both Worlds

Organ-on-a-chip design principles.
(A) Reductionist analysis of a target organ (lung) identifies alveoli as the functional unit composed of epithelial and endothelial cells separated by a thin interstitium. (B) An analogous model is constructed from three layers to bring these two cell types into physiological proximity. (C) To mimic breathing-induced mechanical activity, the cells are cyclically stretched by applying vacuum (vac) to the side chambers. [Illustration: BIOLines Lab

Dan Huh, the Wilf Family Term Assistant Professor in the Department of Bioengineering, focuses his research on creating organs-on-chips: specially manufactured micro-devices with human cells that mimic the natural cellular processes of organs. Recently, the  lab has engineered chips that approximate the functioning of the eye, a placenta and a diseased lung.  This month, Huh published a review of organ-on-a-chip technology in the journal Science with graduate students Sunghee Estelle Park and Andrei Georgescu.