/High resolution characterization of Caco-2 epithelial barrier using impedance spectroscopy on MEA chips

High resolution characterization of Caco-2 epithelial barrier using impedance spectroscopy on MEA chips

Master projects/internships - Leuven | More than two weeks ago

Help validate our Gut-on-chip system using our unique chip technology. 

The epithelial barrier divides the lumen of the intestine from blood circulation: it can be intact as in the physiological state or disrupted. When disrupted, leakage of bacteria and compounds from the lumen leads to chronical inflammation, defining pathology like Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) or Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). In vitro, the integrity of the barrier is conventionally studied by permeation of fluorescent dyes or by electrical measurements, mostly Transepithelial Electrical Resistance (TEER) for cells grown on porous membrane or by Electrical Impedance (EI) systems, for cells on electrodes. 
EI Spectroscopy (EIS) is a powerful technique to assess barrier properties of epithelial tissues, in vitro. Impedance is the equivalent of resistance for alternate current. Differently from the state-of-the-art TEER measurements, EIS analysis are more informative and less invasive: investigation at different frequencies can describe different aspects of the growing culture. Different EIS platforms to study organs on chip have been shown.  Among those, complementary metal oxide semiconductors (CMOS) micro electrode array (MEA) chips hold a great potential, given their high electrode densities and small electrode sizes. In this project, we use a MEA chip with subcellular-sized electrodes enabling the detection of different conditions of a Caco2 intestinal epithelial barrier model culture on it, using EIS. 
The student will characterize Caco2 cell culture on chip and perform EIS measurements, and further characterize the detectable changes in |Z| when challenging the epithelial barrier. Also, data analysis and reporting will be part of the tasks. 

Type of Project: Combination of internship and thesis 

Duration: 3-6 months 

Master's degree: Master of Bioengineering 

Master program: Biomedical engineering 

Supervisor:  Liesbet Lagae

Supervising scientist(s): For further information or for application, please contact Dries Braeken (dries.braeken@imec.be

Allowance: Imec allowance will be provided for students studying at a non-Belgian university.