MIRA University of Twente
Department of Biomechanical Engineering

Department of Biomechanical Engineering

A lab-on-a-chip system to determine the effect of mechanical signals on cells







Tissue Biomechanics


Dr. ir. Jeroen Rouwkema



Starting date:

As soon as possible


In the field of bone tissue engineering, one tries to engineer bone tissue in a laboratory environment for scientific or medical (implantation) purposes. For this, cells such as mesenchymal stem cells isolated from the bone marrow and biomaterial scaffolds are generally used. Nowadays, mechanical loading regimes are already used in tissue engineering to enhance cell differentiation and extracellular matrix production. However, not enough data are available about the exact cellular response to mechanical signals. A lab-on-a-chip based system has been developed to screen for the combined effect of surface strains and shear stresses on cells. The current system however generates only equibiaxial strains. Various anisotropic strain profiles can be easily generated by changing the shape of pillars used to generate the strains.


To generate new strain profiles by modifying a lab-on-a-chip system being used to determine the effect of mechanical signals on cells.


The aim of this project will be to modify the current device design to generate new strain profiles. The student will:


Design an array consisting of pillars with different shapes to generate anisotropic strains.


Use Finite Element modeling (ANSYS) to model the strains resulting from the array of pillars.


Fabricate the array and determine the actual strains using microscopy.


If time permits, study the effect of these strains on human mesenchymal stem cells.

This project will be performed in collaboration with BIOS, The lab-on-a-Chip group.

Further information

Jeroen Rouwkema

Horstring W200

053 489 2892