Medical Engineering Special Seminar

Thursday April 21, 2016 4:00 PM

Bioinspired Organoid Engineering for Translational Medicine and Therapeutics

Speaker: Yu Shrike Zhang, PhD, Division of Biomedical Engineering, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School-MIT Health Sciences and Technology
Location: Annenberg 105


Organ-on-a-chip systems are microfluidic three-dimensional (3D) miniature human organ models that recapitulate the important biological and physiological parameters of their in vivo counterparts. They have recently emerged as a viable platform for personalized medicine and drug screening. These biomimetic organoid models are expected to replace the conventional planar, static cell cultures and bridge the gap between the current pre-clinical animal models and the human body. Multiple organoids can also be channeled together through the microfluidics in a similar manner they arrange in vivo, providing the capacity to analyze interactions among these organs. However, despite the successful development of a wide variety of human organ-on-a-chip models, in situ sensing has not been achieved at a sufficient level so far to continuously monitor the microenvironmental parameters and the dynamic responses of the organoids towards pharmaceutical compounds over extended periods of time. There is also a strong need for integrating advanced biofabrication technologies to further improve the compositional and architectural fidelity of the engineered organoids that achieve functionality.

In this talk, I will discuss our recent efforts on developing a fully integrated multi-organ-on-a-chip platform in conjunction with modular physical, biochemical, and optical sensing units, which can operate in a continual and automated manner over a lengthy period. I will further present a series of novel 3D bioprinting strategies that we have devised and adopted in fabricating biomimetic organoids and microdevices. These platform technologies provide new opportunities in constructing functional organoids with a potential to achieve large-scale automation in the drug screening process.


Dr. Zhang received his Ph.D. from Georgia Institute of Technology in the Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering. He is currently a postdoctoral research fellow at the Department of Medicine and Associate Bioengineer at Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, and affiliated with Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology and Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University. Dr. Zhang's research is focused on innovating medical engineering technologies to recreate functional biomimetic tissues, including 3D bioprinting, organs-on-chips, medical devices, biomedical imaging, and biosensing. He is actively collaborating with a multidisciplinary team encompassing biomedical, mechanical, electrical, and computer engineers as well as biologists and clinicians to ultimately translate these cutting-edge technologies into clinics. Beyond research, he enjoys nature-watching, traveling, and photography. More information can be found on his website (

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