The Society of Toxicology (SOT) honored Wyss Founding Director Don Ingber with the 2013 Leading Edge in Basic Science Award at the annual SOT meeting in San Antonio, Texas, on March 10th. Ingber won the award, presented to "a scientist who has made a recent, seminal basic scientific contribution to understanding fundamental mechanisms of toxicity," for his human Organs-on-Chips research program.
The human Organs-on-Chips are composed of a clear, flexible polymer about the size of a computer memory stick. They contain hollow microfluidic channels lined by living human cells — allowing researchers to recapitulate the physiological and mechanical functions of the organs, and to observe what happens in real time.
"Our goal is to provide more predictive and useful measures of the efficacy and safety of new drugs in humans — and at a fraction of the time and costs associated with traditional animal testing," Ingber said.
More than ten different Organs-on-Chips are currently under development at the Wyss Institute, couched in a major effort to link them together to mimic whole body physiology. The research has been funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).
In February, Ingber received the prestigious 3Rs Prize from the UK’s National Centre for the Replacement, Refinement and Reduction of Animals in Research specifically for the lung-on-a-chip.