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BLOC project

Benchtop NMR for lab-on a-chip

Technology and objective

Recent advances in tissue engineering offer new approaches to metabolic disease modelling and drug discovery by providing biologically relevant models of tissues and organs in vitro integrated with sensing technology. This technology has the potential to revolutionise the pharmaceutical industry by enabling reliable and high predictive in vitro testing of chemical compounds. The capability to miniaturise microfluidic systems and advanced tissue fabrication procedures have enabled researchers to create multiple 3D in vitro models with a high degree of control over experimental variables for high-content screening applications.

BLOC objective is to develop a benchtop spectrometer based on magnetic resonance spectroscopy and imaging using dynamic nuclear polarisation (DNP-MR). The integration of this technology with tissue engineering systems will be applied to monitor disease and evaluate responses to different stimulus. As a proof-of-concept, this project will fabricate a biomimetic model composed of liver spheroids and pancreatic islets and develop the necessary DNP-MR hardware and software to study metabolic diseases.

Applications and impact

The technology derived from this project will have a direct impact in the society and the public opinion since it will allow a significant reduction on the use of animals for experimentation purposes, minimizing ethical issues related with this topic. Moreover, the use of human engineered tissues will bring pre-clinical experiments more accurate and efficient, facilitating the extrapolation of results to humans.

The idea is to create a standardized and small device which can be easily installed in any laboratory. Besides being used in the biomedical field, the equipment developed in this project will be an easy-to-use and low-cost system with potential applications in other areas, as environmental control and chemical industry.

Consortium

INSTITUTE FOR BIOENGINEERING OF CATALONIA (IBEC)
 Spain
Carrer BALDIRI REIXAC 10-12
08028 Barcelona

OXFORD INSTRUMENTS
United Kingdom 
TUBNEY WOODS
Abingdon OX13 5QX

 

MULTIWAVE
 Switzerland 
3 CHEMIN DU PRE FLEURI, Geneva 1228

 

INSTITUT D’INVESTIGACIONS BIOMEDIQUES AUGUST PI I SUNYER (IDIBAPS)
 Spain
Carrer ROSSELLÓ, 149 Barcelona 08036

News

BLOC Experts: Interview with Dian Weerakonda

Mr. Dian Weerakonda is a physicist with a strong background in the field of NMR. He joined Oxford Instruments in 2017 as a service engineer and spent a lot of time travelling the world to install and commission benchtop NMR products. He made multiple contributions to the development of new products and now he is actively involved in R&D tasks. He is a key piece inside BLOC Project!

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BLOC Experts: Interview with Vicent Ribas

Dr. Vicent Ribas is a biochemist with a strong background in the study of metabolism. The last years he dedicated his research to understand the impact of metabolic diseases on liver function, using animal and cellular models. His knowhow is crucial for BLOC project, where he validates and interprets the measurements of DNP-NMR with in vivo models of metabolic diseases. You can check here a short video, where he describes his role in BLOC project and shows some of the work he is carrying out at IDIBAPS, and an interview where he explains in more detail some aspects of his professional profile and other topics related to the project.

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