Microfluidic generation of synthetic cells and 2-D tissues
Biologic cells and tissues are complex, self-regulating, systems operating far from equilibrium. They can communicate with one another via chemical, electrical and mechanical signals, sense external stimuli, move, replicate and evolve. To be able to collectively achieve their task, the cells’ phospholipid membrane is functionalized by special proteins, which regulate the transport of molecules across the cell membrane. These proteins can be isolated from biological, living cells and translocated into synthetic vesicles, which in turn obtain cell-like properties and functions. If these nano- to micrometer sized compartments are linked via hydrophobic interactions, electrostatic attraction, mechanical anchorage or chemical reaction, 2- to 3-dimensional networks can be generated, which exhibit the active, adaptive as well as autonomous behaviour of biological tissue. Therefore, they could set the scene for the next generation of intelligent materials.
In the scope of this thesis, phospholipid micelles are to be fabricated and investigated using a microfluidic setup. To this end you will design, construct as well as fabricate a microfluidic chip, which will be equipped with measurement electrodes. The vesicles, which constitute the basic carriers of transmembrane proteins will be lined up into 2D-structures and examined using different measurement techniques.
The work offers you:
• Insight into microfluidics (Chip-fabrication, electrode integration)
• Insight into the functionality of biological cells, tissues & self-assembly processes
• Extensive supervision
• Interdisciplinary working environment and topic
• Exciting and up-to-date research
What we expect of you:
• Interest in practical work and experiments
• Curiosity & interest in learning the ropes of an up-to-date research topic
• Thorough and independent way of working
If the topic catches your interest feel free to contact me either by phone or by e-mail. I would be happy to discuss further questions concerning the topic in a personal conversation. The scope of the thesis can be adjusted to a bachelor or master thesis.