In search for strategies to curb pandemics, scientists strive to understand how pathogens slip past the immune system and wreak havoc on the body. To achieve this goal, researchers study viral infection in models that mimic how different cell types interact with each other, the immune system, or the environment. Organ-on-a-chip models combine tissue engineering with microfluidics to replicate an organ’s biological and biomechanical context. Lung chips have proven instrumental for studying viral evolution, identifying drug-resistant variants, and screening for new drugs that could prevent these variants from initiating the next pandemic.
In this episode of “The Scientist Speaks,” Nele Haelterman from The Scientist’s Creative Services Team spoke with Don Ingber, the cell biologist who invented organ-on-a-chip technology and the Founding Director of the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University, to learn more.