Master Assignments

Multicompartmentalized Microgels

MULTICOMPARTMENTALIZED MICROGELS

AIM

To produce multicompartmentalized hydrogel microparticles using the novel technology in-air microfluidics for studying interacting bioactive compounds such as cells and enzymes.

INTRODUCTION

Biological functioning often relies on the orchestrated interplay of multiple bioactive compounds, including different cell types, chemical reactions, and enzymatic processes. Embedding multiple bioactive compounds within a well-defined microenvironment is instrumental to study these interactions. Micrometer-sized hydrogels, or microgel, are potent tools to this end, as the microgels structurally mimic the extracellular matrix found in natural tissues. Therefore, co-encapsulating multiple bioactive compounds in microgel capsules is expected to facilitate studying complex multi-step biological processes.

We have recently developed ‘in-air microfluidics’ (IAMF), which is a technology that can be used for the rapid manufacturing of microgels (Visser et al., Sci. Adv. 2018;4: eaao1175). This assignment focusses on the production of multicompartmentalized microgels using IAMF. If successful, these microgels represent biocompatible microreactors that can be used to study cellular crosstalk and enzymatic cascade reactions.

GOALS

  1. Produce multicompartmentalized microgels using IAMF
  2. Characterize the microgels using fluorescent confocal microscopy
  3. Co-encapsulate two different enzymes that can together catalyze a multi-enzyme cascade reaction
  4. Co-encapsulate two different cell types within distinct microcompartments

TECHNIQUES

In-air microfluidics, fluorescence confocal microscopy, scanning electron microscopy, enzymatic reactions, cell culture, cell encapsulation.

This interdisciplinary assignment focuses mainly on engineering and a bit on biology and chemistry.


Daily Supervisor
Tom Kamperman PhD
Daily supervisor
Jeroen Leijten PhD
Contactperson Developmental BioEngineering (DBE)
Janneke Alers PhD