UTMESA+MESA+ InstituteResearch & DevelopmentCentres of expertiseOrgan-on-Chip Centre TwenteNewsNational hDMT facility Organ-on-Chip Development Centre at University of Twente

National hDMT facility Organ-on-Chip Development Centre at University of Twente

The University of Twente has received over 3 million Euro to set up a national facility for Organ-on-Chip model development that brings together our combined expertise in microfabrication, microfluidics, cell culture, bioprinting, imaging and sensing. This Organ-on-Chip Development Centre will be available to Organ-on-Chip developers and users within the Dutch consortium Human Organ and Disease Modeling Technologies via the hDMT INFRA programme. Andries van der Meer, supported by co-applicants from S&T and EEMCS faculty, has received the funding from NWO in a research infrastructure call and will lead the project.

One of the key challenges in Organ-on-Chip (OoC) research is the complexity of new OoC model development. The field is fragmented, with many different types of OoC systems in use by public and private partners. Moreover, emerging technological innovations in microfabrication, microfluidics and sensing are difficult to implement, due to the integrated nature of OoCs. By bringing together all relevant infrastructure for OoC development in a single facility, it will be possible to achieve scientific breakthroughs.

One facility: OoCDev

With a multi-disciplinary team of ambitious researchers at the University of Twente, and together with the national partnerships of hDMT, we have now received funding to establish OoCDev: a service centre of expertise for OoC device design, prototyping and testing, with facilities for microfabrication, bioprinting, microfluidics, cell culture, advanced imaging and sensing, all within the national context of hDMT INFRA. The OoCDev will be open to OoC developers, biomedical OoC users and industrial users, and will offer key enabling facilities and services for the development of next-generation OoCs. OoCDev will be embedded at the University of Twente, taking full advantage of local expertise on microfabrication, tissue engineering, microfluidics, imaging and sensing, and available infrastructure such as the MESA+ NanoLab cleanroom and the TechMed BioImaging Center. OoCDev will be managed by the Organ-on-Chip Centre Twente.

Prof. Dr. Andries van der Meer

This facility will make it possible to develop organs-on-chips that are truly next generation, with working three-dimensional tissues, blood flow and dynamic loading. The Organ-on-Chip Development Centre provides a central location for this pioneering work, not only for local researchers, but precisely for all scientists from other institutes affiliated to the national hDMT. We have a great team at UT, with expertise in biomaterials, stem cell technology, microsystems and microscopy, and I am extremely proud that we will be able to build this hDMT facility in the coming years.

Prof. Dr. Andries van der Meer


The strong need for infrastructure has also been recognized by OoC researchers in the Netherlands, who are well-organized in hDMT, comprised of 14 Dutch universities and medical centres. The Netherlands is an international leader in OoC research and commercial development, and further academic and economic growth of this multidisciplinary research domain will depend strongly on the availability of an extensive research infrastructure, e.g. with biobanks of human (stem) cells, -omics databases, imaging facilities, qualification and testing facilities, and facilities for technical development and standardization. hDMT is currently establishing an infrastructure for OoC through hDMT INFRA, which is recognized as essential for scientific research on OoC in the Netherlands, as indicated by its inclusion in The National Roadmap for Large-Scale Research Infrastructure 2021-2025. hDMT INFRA has a distributed structure, combining national management through hDMT with affiliated centres that leverage expertise and facilities that are already present at hDMT partner institutions throughout the Netherlands.

Research infrastructure: national consortia

The Dutch Research Council (NWO) is investing about 22.7 million euros in seven projects for innovative scientific infrastructure. These seven awarded projects will develop high-value equipment, data collections and software. The projects are awarded in the research programme ‘Research Infrastructure: national consortia’. With this funding, NWO is strengthening the scientific infrastructure that Dutch knowledge institutions can make available to the research community. Scientists from throughout the Netherlands often work together and with international partners within the projects where the new facilities will be realised.