ESR 12 – Secondment in Uppsala

Hi, my name is Mara Lucchetti (ESR 12) and I am researching the “Integration of iPSC-derived epithelial cells and of on-chip TEER measurement in the HuMiX gut model” at the University of Luxembourg.

The human-microbial cross talk (HuMiX) platform has been developed by Paul Wilmes’ laboratory at the University of Luxembourg in order to study the molecular interactions between the host and microbes under biomimetic conditions. Throughout the years, the HuMiX gut-on-a-chip model has undergone several modifications in order to provide a representative model of the gastrointestinal-microbe environment. The most recent version, being HuMiX 3.0, has in contrast to the previous versions an additional nitrogen (N2) channel, which enables to recreate an anoxic (deficient in oxygen) environment for culturing representative bacterial species from the gut.

The secondment at Uppsala University (UU) from 17 February to 13 March has been planned as part of the EUROoC training program in order to integrate a TEER (transepithelial electrical resistance) measurement system in HuMiX 3.0 to monitor gut epithelial barrier function. During my secondment, Gabriel and myself successfully designed and fabricated thin-film Pt electrodes. These sensors will first be tested in a demonstration prototype before being integrated in HuMiX. Unfortunately, my secondment had to be interrupted due to the COVID-19 crisis. Hence, Gabriel and myself will perform some preliminary tests individually. A second stay at Uppsala University will be planned to complete the project.

Given that I have a biomedical background, I am grateful that I had the opportunity to collaborate with Gabriel and his group at UU to get an insight into microfabrication techniques. Finally, I want to thank Gabriel and his colleagues for their warm welcome and for introducing me to the Swedish culture.