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Cell Culture and Tissue Engineering
VIIBRE collaborates with other Vanderbilt University and Medical Center laboratories, as well as external institutions, to develop various engineered tissue constructs. Current research focuses on a range of tissues from blood-brain barrier and cardiac tissue on a microfluidic chip to wound repair and scar models. We have multiple cell and tissue culture labs available (BSL 2) for culture of human primary cells and cell lines.
Our extensive analytical capabilities, which include electrochemical sensor arrays, mass-spectrometry, custom in-house engineered and fabricated instrumentation, multiple automated fluorescence microscopes, and a state-of-the-art confocal HCS/HTS microscope, enable us to conduct in-depth investigations of anything from small bioreactors to large tissue constructs.
The Cellular Instrumentation and Control Laboratory is dedicated to high-bandwidth (i.e., rapid temporal response) studies of the dynamics of cellular signaling and metabolism. A particular focus is paid towards cell-based biosensors, and using soft-lithographic MEMS fabrication techniques to create silicone-based elastomeric Micro- and Nanophysiometers that measure simultaneously, from a small population of cultured cells in microliter to sub-nanoliter cell-culture chambers, oxygen consumption, extracellular pH, glucose consumption, lactate production, amino acid consumption and production, and release of specific small molecules, intracellular quantities such as oxidation/reduction potential, transmembrane potential, calcium concentration, and the expression of selected chemokines. Active pumps and feedback controls are being developed to maintain long-term cell health in the highly restricted nanoliter culture volumes. The VIIBRE cellular instruments are being created using state-of-the-art multichannel potentiostats, inverted microscopes, computer-controlled micropumps, and high-speed CCD and photodiode fluorescence imaging systems.