Northeastern University engineering professor Jeffrey Ruberti and his research colleagues are breaking new ground in the technique known as “hybrid tissue engineering” by attempting to control the behavior of human cells such that they can be induced to produce corneas for human transplant. An important part of their research has been conducted with a state-of-the-art bioreactor that was developed by Professor Ruberti’s group and commercialized by ADMET, Inc of Norwood, MA.
ADMET BioTense Perfusion Bioreactor for Mechanobiology Studies
The BioTense Perfusion Bioreactor is designed to sit atop an inverted microscope, incorporates a tensile loading stage, possesses a low-volume, thermally-controlled reactor space and provides short-working distance optical access. Researchers clamp a sturdy collagen substrate between the tensile tissue grips and seed the bioreactor with human cells. Once the cells have firmly established themselves onto the collagen substrate in an organized manner, the substrate is mechanically elongated and can be successfully cultured for up to three weeks.
During this time the microscope records cellular activity in both strained and un-strained conditions. “Before the BioTense Bioreactor, we were blind to how cells behaved in strained and relaxed conditions”, stated Dr. Ruberti, “With the BioTense, we are beginning to develop a greater understanding of the dynamics of cellular responses to mechanical stimuli. The device is one of the first systems capable of studying real-time mechanobiology at high-magnification for extended periods. In addition, the low volume permits use of expensive agonists and live-cell stains. Without the device, our ability to probe the next frontier [mechanobiology] in regenerative medicine, would be severely limited.”