Frequently Asked Questions
1. What is the range of stretch that can be applied using the standard chip?
A range of conditions can be applied to expose the cells to mechanical forces include Stretch: 0-12%, 0.01-0.4Hz, Flow: 0-1000µl/hr that results in fluid shear stress: Top channel; 0-0.009dyn/cm2 Bottom channel; 0-0.3dyn/cm2
2. What is the diameter of the pores in the membrane?
The two channels in Emulates chip-S1 are separated by a thin (50 µm), flexible, porous PDMS membrane. The pores are 7µm in diameter and are regularly spaced in a hexagonal fashion 40 µm apart.
3. Is there the possibility to have a different pore size of the membrane, to mimic a more tight/loose environment?
The chip-S1 is currently only available with 7µm pores.
4. Can you run patient blood in the system instead of media?
Previous studies have run blood through the chip-S1.
5. Can you use the system for more than 2 cell types?
Yes, more than one cell type can be used in the Chip-s1 in either channel. For an excellent example of this please look at Emulates Quad-culture Liver chip.
6. In relation to the upper chamber, to what extent do epithelial cells populate the side/top walls rather than the porous membrane?
Cells will adhere to any surface coated with extra-cellular matrix proteins. Cells adhering to areas outside the main culture area will not affect study results.
7. How do you section the chip in order to perform H&E staining?
Organ chips can be fixed and sectioned for H&E staining using a vibratome, additional details and protocols can be provided on request.
8. During incubation, is absorption of drug/metabolites by PDMS a concern, or is this effect minimal?
Absorption of drugs by the PDMS is minimal, however Emulate provide a compound distribution service to determine the extent of absorption, please enquire for details.
9. Is there scope to introduce/modify extracellular matrix components (i.e. complex collagen subtypes, lamins, etc)?
Yes, each of Emulates validated and supported models has a model-specific ECM recommendation.
10. Is the system capable of 3D culture and inclusion of matrix components?
Yes. Cells can be cultured in 2D on hydrogel, or on ECM coated surfaces but can also be introduced into the chip as a cell/hydrogel mix.
11. What are the range of organ models for which the chips can be used?
Emulate has a number of validated models which include liver, lung, intestine and kidney for which defined protocols are available. Some of which can also be purchased as bio-kits that include validated cells.
In addition to this, Emulate have supported models in the lung, which include alveolus and airway. A range of other models are in development, or have been published by collaborators which include blood-brain barrier and bone.
12. Can you use the technology for tissue specific selection of drugs
13. Would the centre only allow staff access to the centre, or would students be eligible to access for carrying out experiments?
Staff and students are permitted to access the Emulate Centre laboratories providing they have completed all health and safety requirements and undergone suitable training by the Centre staff. All work must be conducted in accordance to The School of Engineering and Materials Science social distancing guidelines.
14. Can you comment on intellectual property
A fully flexible IP arrangement exists between the Centre and Emulate Inc. Further arrangements with researchers will be discussed during the planning stages of the project.