Master Assignments

Ovary on a chip


Cryopreserving ovary tissue containing oocyte precursors (follicles) is the best treatment offered to cancer patients willing to create family after chemo- or radiotherapy. Follicles mature in-vivo from 100 000 primordial follicles to a single oocyte per cycle. Due to the mature follicle rarity, follicle in-vitro maturation after cryopreservation is primordial before in-vitro fertilization [1].

We propose here to perform and study the maturation of cryopreserved follicles inside a miniaturized system mimicking the ovary microenvironment – called “ovary-on-a-chip”. In this work, the student will design and fabricate a microfluidic system dedicated to the positioning, encapsulation and advanced culture of primordial follicles, based on protocols developed or adapted by our group [2,3,4]. First tests will be conducted on cell aggregates -or spheroids- followed by the actual culture and characterization of primordial follicles in collaboration with the Leiden University Medical Center.

Techniques: microfluidic design, microfabrication, microfluidic manipulation, cell culture, tissue engineering, cell analysis.


[1] Telfer, E.E., Zelinski, M.B., 2013. Ovarian follicle culture: advances and challenges for human and nonhuman primates. Fertility and Sterility 99, 1523–1533.

[2] Xu, X., Sarder, P., Li, Z., Nehorai, A., 2013. Optimization of microfluidic microsphere-trap arrays. Biomicrofluidics 7.

[3] Yamada, A., Renault, R., Chikina, A., Venzac, B., Pereiro, I., Coscoy, S., Verhulsel, M., Parrini, M.C., Villard, C., Viovy, J.-L., Descroix, S., 2016. Transient microfluidic compartmentalization using actionable microfilaments for biochemical assays, cell culture and organs-on-chip. Lab Chip 16, 4691–4701.

[4] Shin, Y., Han, S., Jeon, J.S., Yamamoto, K., Zervantonakis, I.K., Sudo, R., Kamm, R.D., Chung, S., 2012. Microfluidic assay for simultaneous culture of multiple cell types on surfaces or within hydrogels. Nature protocols 7, 1247–59.

Daily supervisor
dr. B. Venzac (Bastien) PhD
Contact person
S. le Gac (Severine) PhD
Associate Professor