Universiteit Leiden

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Research project

Development of innovative engineered models for viral diseases

A main goal of MSBB research is to address the major bottle-necks in combatting viral diseases: the lack of experimental models that are representative of human pathology and are cost effective and versatile. Viral diseases such as those that cause viral hemorrhagic syndromes or severe acute respiratory syndromes are recognised by World Health Organisation (WHO) as urgent threats to the public. This creates a real urgency for the innovative engineered models for diagnostic, preventive and drug development research.

Alireza Mashaghi Tabari

We are aiming to develop engineered models for viral hemorrhagic diseases caused by viruses like Ebola and Lassa. 

We are currently developing organ chip and bioprinted models for various viral diseases. We pioneered the development and use of Organ Chips for viral hemorrhagic syndromes. The chips have been used to test candidate drugs developed by our industrial partners. Our lab is equipped with state-of-the art bioprinting technologies which enable us to develop models that can be later analysed by a wide range of lab-on-chip technologies available in MSBB lab. For example, we can sample single immune cells from the bioprinted models and characterize their signaling pathways as well as their mechanical phenotypes. These highly informative chemical and physical profiles will help us to understand the mechanisms of disease and enable personalized medicine.

Further reading

Huaqi Tang, Yasmine Abouleila, Longlong Si, Ana Maria Ortega-Prieto, Christine L Mummery, Donald E Ingber, Alireza Mashaghi, Human organs-on-chips for virology. Trends in Microbiology 28(11):934-946 (2020)

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