Building a sample platform for live cell imaging

To better understand the interactions between the different types of tissues in our lungs, the Lung-on-a-Chip team at Fort Lewis College has developed a functional, synthetic membrane that mimics the structural and mechanical properties of the barrier between alveolar cells and capillary cells where gas exchange occurs in the lungs. To create this membrane, undergraduate scholars in the Jessing and Blake labs thinned silicon wafers to mimic the thickness of the biological barrier and developed chemical techniques to create pores in the thinned wafers to allow gas exchange. The undergraduate scholars showed that both alveolar and capillary cells can grow successfully on this new synthetic membrane and are currently working on a manuscript of their results.