Mechanobiology lab

We develop frontier tools for cell modelling, including microengineered stem cell niches, microfluidic bioreactors and miniaturised windows for intravital imaging. Our long-term goal is to develop the potential of engineered tissue-equivalents and organoids in cell modelling, drug discovery and regenerative medicine. By working at the interface between engineering and biology, we investigate the spatial and temporal effects of various micro-environmental factors, including three dimensionality (3D) of the cell environment and isotropy of the applied forces, on stem cell renewal and differentiation. Our skills in 3D:

  • Static/perfused culture of adherent cells
  • Cell biochemical assays
  • Histology on pellets and tissue
  • Fluorescence imaging
  • Transfection and transduction
  • Tissue engineering
  • Multiphysics computational modelling

Funded research projects

  • Synthetic niche substrates for mesenchymal stem cell culture: ESA-funded project NICHOID-ET, ERC-funded projects NICHOID and NICHOIDS
  • Miniaturised optically-accessible bioreactors: NC3Rs-funded project MOAB, ERC-funded project MOAB
  • Miniaturised windows for intravital imaging: EC-funded project IN2SIGHT, MIUR-funded project BEYOND

Equipment

  • Bioreactor for 3D tissue culture under surface perfusion
  • Bioreactor for 3D tissue culture under interstitial perfusion (video tutorial)
  • Bioreactor for 3D tissue culture under combined regimens of hydrostatic pressure and interstitial perfusion
  • Bioreactor for 3D tissue culture under pulsatile stretch (video tutorial)
  • Microfluidic bioreactor for 3D tissue culture with optical accessibility (video tutorial)
  • Confocal microscope with integrated cell culture chamber (Fluoview FV10i, Olympus)
  • Microscope, inverted bright light/phase contrast/fluorescence (IX70, Olympus)
  • Video camera, high resolution color (4083.CL3, Optika)
  • Oxygen imaging system (VisiSens A1- Presens)
  • Syringe pump, multi-channel programmable (PHDULTRA, Harvard Apparatus)
  • Peristaltic pump, multi-channel programmable (520U, Watson Marlow)
  • Cabinet, class II bio-safety (M25121, MDH)
  • Cabinet chemical safety (GS800 BASE, Vetrotecnica)
  • Incubator, CO2 standard (5420-1, Napco)
  • Incubator, CO2 with oxygen control 1-19% and Humidity control 0-97% (IcoMed 50, Memmert)
  • Centrifuge, refrigerated (3-16PK, Sigma)
  • Multimode reader, monochromator with DNA nanoquant (Infinite M200Pro, Tecan)
  • Cryotome (HM500 OM, Microm)
  • Microtome (2218, LKB)
  • Autoclave, bench top (NT80, Golmar)
  • Balance, high precision electronic (Analytical Plus, Ohaus)
  • Vertical refrigerators/freezers 4°C /-20°, ultra-freezer – 80°C (Sanyo)
  • Dewar, liquid nitrogen (Millenium 2000, Chart)
  • Vortex mixer (2×3, Velp)
  • Shaker, orbital/parallel (PS-M3D, Grant Bio)
  • Hot air sterilizing oven (DISA)
  • Stirred water bath (SBS30, Stuart Scientific)

ERC-NICHOID lab

  • Cabinet, class II bio-safety (Top Safe 1.2, Bioair)
  • Incubator, CO2 standard (S@fegrow 188, Euroclone)
  • Vertical refrigerator/freezer 4°C /-20° C (KRFDC 2711, KW Apparecchi Scientifici)
  • UV curing high intensity lamp (DYMAX 5000-EC, Ellsworth)
  • Ultra-sonification bath (DU 100, Argolab)
  • Confocal microscope equipped with resonant scanner and GASP detection, culture chamber for live imaging acquisition. Nikon A1-R+ (Nikon, Japan)
  • 2 x Workstation Dell PowerEdge T630, 2xCPU, 64Gb RAM ECC, GPU Nvidia 1080Ti (12Gb RAM)

    Lab Life