I3A - Instituto de Investigación en Ingeniería de Aragón

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TMEGroup of Tissue Microenvironment
The Tissue MicroEnvironment (TME) group is a highly multidisciplinary group made up of engineers, physicists, and researchers from various biomedical branches. This group has the general objective of understanding, simulating and preserving the environment of cells and tissues in their pathophysiological conditions to find new therapeutic strategies and personalized solutions for patients.
 
To achieve this objective, the group combines three areas of knowledge such as computational simulation, microtechnology (especially microfluidics) and cell biology in order to tackle complex biomedical problems from multiple points of view.
 
The research line of the TME group is focused on the development of microfluidic devices (organ on chip) and mathematical models that simulate, help to predict and gain knowledge about complex biological processes involved in diseases such as cardiovascular diseases and cancer.

Research Lines

Biomedical Engineering

Research in Computational Simulation
With the general objective of developing computational tools for a better understanding of biological phenomena in vitro and in vivo (Systems Biology) and for the prediction and prognosis...
With the general objective of developing computational tools for a better understanding of biological phenomena in vitro and in vivo (Systems Biology) and for the prediction and prognosis of relevant diseases.
 
Specific sublines:
  • Complex models of cell-environment interaction
  • Computational Mechanobiology
  • Clinical and AP imaging treatment for the generation of biomarkers of clinical interest
  • Data-based models for clinical decision-making and for understanding biological phenomena
Research in Microfluidic Technologies
With the general objective of the generation of tools for the development of organ-on-chip systems.
 
 
Specific sublines:
  • Materials and...
With the general objective of the generation of tools for the development of organ-on-chip systems.
 
 
Specific sublines:
  • Materials and manufacturing processes for the generation of microfluidic devices
  • Microfluidic design for organ-on-chip
  • Fluid control elements integrated into organ-on-chip devices
  • External connectors and tools for the management of experimental microfluidics
Research in Cell Biology
With the general objective of Understanding and simulating the microenvironment of cardiovascular diseases, cancer and other tissues.
 
Specific sublines:
  • Cancer...
With the general objective of Understanding and simulating the microenvironment of cardiovascular diseases, cancer and other tissues.
 
Specific sublines:
  • Cancer microenvironment (Glioblastoma, CRC)
  • Oncoinmunology (Macrófagos en GBM, microbiota colon)
  • Cardiovascular models and diseases (Heart on chip y Heart spheroids)
  • Biomimetic models of renal toxicology.

Key Projects

Biomedical Engineering

PRIME
Microfluidic devices manipulate tiny amounts of fluid enabling cost-effective, fast, accurate and high throughput analytical assays. Progress in Microfluidics has huge impact in environmental...
Microfluidic devices manipulate tiny amounts of fluid enabling cost-effective, fast, accurate and high throughput analytical assays. Progress in Microfluidics has huge impact in environmental pollution monitoring, biohazard detection and biomedicine, contributing to the development of new tools for drug screening, biological studies, point-of-care diagnostics and personalized medicine. Despite this huge potential, Microfluidics market growth is heavily constrained by the complexity and high prices of the required large-scale off-chip equipment and its operational cost. 
 
PRIME will use recently introduced 4D printing of liquid crystal elastomers for the direct implementation and integration of light-actuated valves and pumps in a microfluidic chip. Inkjet printing will produce new ultra sensitive and selective sensors embedded in the chip and readable with light. The final device will be remotely addressed and read using simple photonic elements that can be integrated in compact, portable and cheap operation&read devices. PRIME goes beyond the state-of-the-art generating a robust platform to create a new generation of active, tubeless and contactless microfluidic chips effectively changing the currently established paradigm.
 
PRIME will develop a radically new platform that:
  • integrates all the required responsive materials and elements in the chip, effectively providing it with all the fluidic and sensing functions
  • uses compatible materials and manufacturing technologies making future industrial production viable and cost-effective
  • allows to implement with extensive freedom of design a plethora of new smart-integrated and easy-to-operate microfluidic chips.
 
PRIME will thus narrow the gap between Microfluidics and non-specialized laboratories and end-users enabling the spread and penetration of the technology in diverse application fields as well as its geographical expansion to areas where large equipment is difficult to transport or resources are scarce.
POSITION-II
The objective of POSITION-II is to bring innovation in the development and production of smart catheters by the introduction of open technology platforms for miniaturization, AD conversion at...
The objective of POSITION-II is to bring innovation in the development and production of smart catheters by the introduction of open technology platforms for miniaturization, AD conversion at the tip, ultra-sound MEMS devices and encapsulation.
 
Open technology platforms will generate the production volume that will enable sustainable innovation. The availability of open technology platforms will result in new instruments that have a better performance, new sensing and imaging capabilities, while the scale of volume will result in lower manufacturing costs. The production of the “brains” of these smart catheters will take place in Europe, with many European partners contributing essential technologies.
 
The POSITION-II project will consolidate Europe’s premier position as manufacturer of cath lab infrastructure since these new smart catheters will be seamlessly integrated in the cath lab hardware and software platforms. By combining the different sensing and imaging data a more intuitive cath lab experience will be achieved.
 
Looking forward, POSITION-II prepares the European electronics industry for the next revolution in healthcare, bioelectronics implants. Bioelectronics implants are expected to replace a considerable fraction of traditional medicine by direct stimulation of nerves. The miniaturization and soft encapsulation platforms developed in POSITION-II will be the ideal technology frame work for the manufacturing of these bioelectronics implants. The technology platforms developed in POSITION-II are demonstrated by five challenging product demonstrators covering FRR, IVUS, ICE, EP and cell therapy as well as a bioelectronics implant to treat cluster headache.
 
CISTEM
Many rare diseases cause chronic health problems or are even life-threatening. The impact on the quality of life of affected patients, of whom many are children, is significant. To date, a...
Many rare diseases cause chronic health problems or are even life-threatening. The impact on the quality of life of affected patients, of whom many are children, is significant. To date, a limited but increasing number of so-called orphan drugs (drugs for rare diseases) are reaching patients. However, the majority of rare diseases are still without any effective treatment. The development of novel human systems for drug discovery therefore represents a major public health priority.
 
Microfluidic technology-based “Organs-on-a-chip” represents a powerful tool for investigating rare disease mechanisms and testing new drug and treatment due to their ability to mimic tailored micro-environment architecture inspired by organ-level functions in vivo. However, due to the variability in rare disease mechanisms from one patient to another, organ on chip technology needs to be more precise and to convey towards personalized medicine.
 
The human-induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) have a strong potential in engineering organ-on-a-chip since they are derived in a patient-matched manner which makes them a superb source to construct human models for personalized drug screening as well as for understanding patient-specific fundamentals of diseases.
 
To provide novel miniaturized platform for investigation of rare diseases able to address the burning issues in precision medicine today, CISTEM will bring together and synergistically several highly promising research directions which are too often investigated separately at the academic level but also at the industrial level. Based on 4 work packages, the CISTEM RISE project will be implemented by exploiting the complementary expertise of its partners and creating synergies between them through the targeted secondments of staff.
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