Engineering Innervated Organ Systems

Ryan Koppes, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor, Chemical Engineering
Northeastern University
Isermann Auditorium, CBIS, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Thu, September 08, 2022 at 2:00 PM

Microphysiological systems (MPS) hold the potential to provide benchtop models to investigate fundamental biology and disease while reducing the need for animal models. However, many conventional in vitro models fail to fully capture the complex cell-cell interactions, 3D microenvironments, structural organization, or vascularization of multicellular organ systems. A key criterion for replicating physiologically relevant architectures in a dish is the ability to compartmentalize discrete cell populations, extracellular matrix compositions, and/or mechanical properties, without meaningfully restricting auto- and paracrine signaling. Traditionally, compartmentalization within MPS has relied on the use of posts or microtunnels fabricated in silicon-based materials, often requiring expensive lithographic capabilities. Further, these methods are commonly limited to confining discrete tissues in the x-y plane. Towards overcoming these limitations, we have developed a new ‘cut & assemble’ manufacturing technique. We have utilized these new tools to establish a number of MPS platforms to model the cardiovascular system. As part of this talk, I will highlight the potential of this new technology and how we have applied it to model the heart and the adrenal medulla at the benchtop. Further, through our work, I will demonstrate how important the inclusion of neuron populations are for recapitulating organ function.

Ryan Koppes

Dr. Ryan Koppes has been an Assistant Professor at Northeastern University since 2015, where he has founded the Laboratory for Neuromodulation and Neuromuscular Repair (LNNR). Ryan received his Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) in Troy, New York in 2013. His doctoral research with Dr. David Corr focused on soft musculoskeletal biomechanics and tissue engineering. In 2013, Dr. Koppes joined the Bioelectronics Laboratory with Dr. Polina Anikeeva in Material Science and Engineering at MIT, where he worked as a Translational Fellow on neural interface technology utilizing a multimaterial thermal drawing process and optogenetics. He was the recipient of the NIH R21 Trailblazer in 2017, is a co-investigator on a 2019 AHA Innovative Project Award, an NSF I-Corps, and is a co-investigator on a 2020 NIH BRAIN Initiative R01 between Northeastern, UCLA, and Boston Children’s Hospital. Dr. Koppes just recently received an NIH R35 MIRA as well as a grant from NASA to support the development of innervated, human organs-on-a-chip. Dr. Koppes also enjoys teaching Chemical Engineering Experimental Design Lab II (Unit Operations II) for senior engineers, as well as mentoring undergraduates in the laboratory.