Integration of a Novel Biomembrane into a Lung-on-a-Chip Microfluidic Test-Platform

The Lung-on-a-Chip team at Fort Lewis College developed a novel fabrication method to produce a viable porous silicon biomembrane that mimics the functionality of the human interstitial space that separates the alveolar cells and the capillary cells where the gas exchange occurs in the lungs.  This membrane has been successfully integrated into a test-platform in the form of a microfluidic device that allows for studies of interactions between different types of tissues within the lungs, mechanical and structural effects on the membrane and provides a live cell imaging platform (Fig top). The most recent efforts on this project were performed by undergraduate scholars in the form of interdisciplinary senior capstone project team from the Physics & Engineering department.  The undergraduate scholars showed that both alveolar and capillary cells can grow successfully within this microfluidic device and are currently submitting a manuscript of their results.