Pillars and Polymers

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Submitted by Sangeeta Bhatia and Cheri Li of the Laboratory for Multiscale Regenerative Technologies at The David H. Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research

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Sangeeta Bhatia and Cheri Li
Laboratory for Multiscale Regenerative Technologies
The David H. Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research

"This image shows the inside of a microfluidic chamber containing a line of pillars that are trapping first a layer of hard polystyrene spheres, and then the chamber is filled with model hydrogel spheres (green). I took this image to see whether the hydrogels were able to be retained in this chamber, and how the stiffness of the hydrogels affected the manner of the packing (you can see that they squish together a bit so that they are no longer perfectly round).

Packed chambers such as this are analogous to packed-bed catalyst reactors used in much of chemical processing. Our goal is to encapsulate liver cells within these hydrogel spheres. Liver cells are often called the chemical processing plants of the body: by packing 'catalytic' spheres of hydrogels containing liver cells, we could then perfuse drugs through the chamber and study the effect that the liver cells have on the drugs."