In the summer of 2016 I interned at the Diabetes Research Center (DRI). Among the three projects I was involved with at the center, one was focused on developing a microfluidic device that would function as a pancreas on which a variety of diabetes drugs would be tested. In order to make sure that this microfluidic pancreas worked properly the cells within them had to be kept in an environment similar to their in vivo one. To do so, scientist would have to seat at a bench every three hours for about an hour to supply glucose and other chemicals to each group of cells in a 96-well plate. As a research and development intern I had the opportunity to work along side a group of engineers on a high perfusion device with the purpose to automate the monotonous process scientists at the laboratory would have to endure.
The perfusion device was mostly designed using SolidWorks and was entirely 3D printed. We had the opportunity to create two prototypes of the device, both of which are still operational today at the center. The devices were both coded using Python and Matlab and primarily depended on Arduino and Raspberry-Py controllers.
Upon finalizing our project, our tests showed that our high perfusion device was much more efficient at delivering the scheduled glucose mixture injections, and extended the shelf0life of the pancreatic chips significantly. Below you can see a picture of the finalized device and CAD design.