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Organs on a Chip – The Future of  Personalized Medicine?
Kevin Healy
Department of Bioengineering
University of California, Berkeley

Monday, October 26, 2015
10:30 a.m.
Biodesign Institute Auditorium B105, Tempe campus [map]


Drug discovery and development is hampered by high failure rates attributed to reliance on non-human animal models employed during safety and efficacy testing. A fundamental problem in this inefficient process is that non-human animal models cannot adequately represent human biology and, more importantly, they poorly recapitulate human disease states. With the discovery of patient-specific human induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells, the tissue engineering community is now in position to develop in vitro disease specific tissue models to be used for high content drug screening and patient specific medicine. This presentation will discuss progress in developing integrated in vitro models of human cardiac and liver tissue based on populations of normal and patient specific hiPS cells differentiated into cardiomyocytes, hepatocytes or supporting cells. The benefits of the approach include: 1) robust and reproducible platform embodies precision microengineering to create better microtissue environments; 2) precise delivery of molecules (e.g., drugs) in a computationally predictable manner; 3) ability to model human cardiomyopathy; and, 4) cost efficient and high content characterization of multi-organ cardiac liver, tissue drug response.

Kevin E. Healy, Ph.D. is the Jan Fandrianto Distinguished Professor in Engineering at the University of California at Berkeley in the Departments of Bioengineering and Materials Science and Engineering. He served as chair of the Department of Bioengineering from 2011 to 2015. He received a B.Sc. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Rochester in 1983. He obtained graduate degrees in Bioengineering from the University of Pennsylvania (M.Sc.: 1985; Ph.D.: 1990). He is a thought leader and innovator working at the interface between stem cells and materials science to develop dynamic engineered systems to explore both fundamental biological phenomena and new applications in translational medicine. His group currently conducts research in the areas of: bioinspired stem cell microenvironments to control stem cell lineage specification and self-organization into microtissues or organs; bioinspired systems for regenerative medicine; biological interfaces; and, microphysiological systems for drug toxicity screening. Major discoveries from his laboratory have centered on the control of cell fate and tissue formation in contract with materials that are tunable in both their biological content and mechanical properties. These materials find applications in medicine, dentistry and biotechnology.

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