SMART BioSyM talk by Mr Sebastien Uzel (SMART)
Event Date: 04 May 2015 08:00 AM - 04 May 2015 09:00 AM
Event Venue: Enterprise Wing, Level 5, Perseverance Rooms 1/2
Microfluidic and Optogenetic Technologies to Model Neuromuscular Junction Formation and Function
Neuromuscular junctions (NMJ) have always been the subject of extensive research, either as a universal synapse model, or in order to overcome the challenges posed by neurodegenerative disorders or nerve injuries. In this project, we describe a new microfluidic design that can host a three-dimensional (3D) and compartmentalized co-culture of skeletal muscle and motor neurons. We demonstrated the ability for the neurons to extend their neurites within the extracellular matrix toward a functional muscle bundle and form NMJs, while allowing for passive and non-invasive measurement of the force generated by the muscle tissue. In order to facilitate the excitation of the motor neurons and interrogate the NMJs, we targeted mouse embryonic stem cells (ESC) with Channelrhodopsin, a light sensitive microbial ion channel, and created a stable cell line, serving as a pool for photosensitive motor neurons. After demonstrating the first formation of light activate NMJ in vitro, we show that these neurons can be used to remotely triggered muscle contraction in our microfluidic device upon optical stimulation.
Sebastien Uzel is a graduate student at MIT in the department of Mechanical Engineering and a research assistant in the Kamm and the So lab. He is currently a visitor at BioSyM as part a the Singapore-MIT Alliance for Research and Technology (SMART) program. He received a Master’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from Ecole Centrale Paris, France and in Biomechanics from Ecole Nationale Superieure d’Arts et Metiers (now Arts et Metier, ParisTech), Paris, France. His current research is focus on microfluidic and optogenetic as a way to enhance the physiological relevance and controllability of in vitro neuromuscular tissues.