ESR 1 – Secondment in Lausanne

I am ESR1, Alessia Moruzzi, and I am working in the Micro-Organo Lab at NMI. My project focuses on the development of a Heart-on-chip platform. As one of the major milestones of the project is to integrate relevant hydrogels mimicking the human heartECM, I had the opportunity to gain more insight on the topic by joining the laboratory of Matthias Lütolf at EPFL in Switzerland from 7 June to 25 June. Here, I worked closely with Bilge Şen Elçi (ESR9) to screen for possible hydrogels to be loaded in the chip, which could ensure cardiac tissue viability and functionality. I also learned how to perform basic rheology measurements to characterize, viscosity, gelation time and stiffens of hydrogels. Coming from a purely biological background, I found extremely interesting learning more about the material properties of hydrogels and their characterization. During my stay, it was nice to see the contrast between Lausanne lively city centre, and the quiet periphery surrounding the University campus, with green fields and a panoramic view of the mountains. I also really liked the international atmosphere of EPFL. All the lab members were friendly and it was nice to join them in some after-work-get-togethers by the Geneva Lake or on campus. I look forward to visiting again and tasting more Fondue!