3rd Edition of International Conference on Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine

August 21-23, 2023

August 21 -23, 2023 | London, UK
TERMC 2020

Anna Lena Merten

Anna Lena Merten, Speaker at Tissue Engineering Conferences
Friedrich-Alexander-University Erlangen-Nuremberg, Germany
Title : Engineering of the IsoStretcher biomechatronics platform into a bioreactor environment for autonomous visualization of live cells under isotropic mechanical strain


Many cells in the human body are exposed to mechanical stress. The stress trig- gers a response in mechanosensitive ion channels (MSCs, e.g. Piezo1 [1] and TRP-channels [2]), which are embedded in the cell membrane. MSCs are correlated to diseases such as deafness [2], osteoporosis [3] and heart failure [4]. Therefore, it is important to examine the- se channels and their reaction to stress in detail. Ion channels can be tagged, for example, with GFP (green uorescent protein) and thus, be studied using uorescence microscopy. Another approach is using ion indicators like Fluo-4 (for calcium), to study ion in ux into living cells. For this purpose, a device was developed at the Institute of Medical Biotechnology (FAU), the IsoStretcher, which applies isotropic  strain  to  a PDMS membrane via six  pins,  which         are  driven  apart  radially  using  an iris-like  actuation mechanism  [5]. Adherent cells (such as HEK cells) can be cultivated on this membrane, will stick to it and are ready for mecha- notransduction studies. Stretching of non-adherent cells (such as cardiomyocytes) is possible through embedding the cells in a hydrogel, which will stick to the PDMS membrane and transmit the stretch to the cells. Especially for cells and tissues from hollow organs, like    the heart or the lungs, isotropic stretch is much closer to the physiological situation than uni-axial stretch [6]. In collaboration with Ospin GmbH (Berlin, Germany), the device has been implemented into their modular bioreactor system. This creates the possibility of long term experiments  in controlled conditions. In order to have visual control over the sample in the stretching de- vice, di erent optical solutions were engineered that include an in-built compact uorescence microscope  as  well  as  a  phase  contrast  microscope.  Those  were  custom-built  in  order  to  t  the  con  ned  space  available  in  the bioreactor and also provide a su cient image quality to examine biological samples. The IsoStretcher as well as the microscopes (sensors, pumps, etc.) can be controlled from a browser based user interface, which also allows monitoring of the process and data analysis. Here, we present the technology as well as preliminary experiments using the system.


Anna-Lena  Merten studied  Life  Science  Engineering  at  the  Friedrich-Alexander-University Erlangen-Nuremberg  (FAU)  in  Germany  and graduated  as  Master  of  Science  in  2017.  Currently,  she  is  working  on  her  PhD  project  at  the  Institute  of  Medical  Biotechnology  (FAU)  while also completing a graduate programme at Erlangen Graduate School in Advanced Optical Technologies (SAOT, FAU).