The objectives of the Organs-on-Chip Technologies Laboratory are to develop advanced in-vitro models, based on microfluidics, able to accurately recreate organ-specific functions and the environmental conditions found in-vivo, such as the mechanical stress induced by the blood flow or the respiratory movements. The OOC group closely collaborates with the Pulmonary Medicine and the Thoracic Surgery Clinics of the University Hospital of Bern, with which several healthy and diseased lung models are being developed.
Organs-on-Chip Technologies is a highly interdisciplinary research field that combines engineering, cell biology, material sciences and physics. The terminology "Chip" originates from the microelectronic industries, from which the technologies used to produce such in-vitro systems are derived from. Nevertheless, in contrast to the chips found in all mobile phones and laptops, microfluidic chips rarely include electronic components. Microstructures, such as microchannels or microwells, have typical dimensions of the size of a human hair (50 to 150um) and provide cells that are cultured in such structures, an environment that can accurately be controlled. Such systems are widely believed to become competitive tools for in-vitro cell culture and promising alternatives to animal studies.