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SELECTBIO Conferences 3D-Culture, Organoids and Organs-on-Chips 2021

Nancy Allbritton's Biography

Nancy Allbritton, Frank and Julie Jungers Dean of the College of Engineering and Professor of Bioengineering, University of Washington in Seattle

Nancy L. Allbritton is the Frank and Julie Jungers Dean of the College of Engineering and Professor of Bioengineering at the University of Washington in Seattle.

Her research focuses on the development of novel technologies for applications in single-cell analysis, micro-arrays and fluidics, and organ-on-chip and has resulted in over 180 full-length journal publications and patents and led to 15 commercial products. Her research program has been well funded by the National Institutes of Health with $60 million in grant funding since 1994. Four companies have been formed based on her research discoveries: Protein Simple (acquired by Bio-Techne in 2014 for $308M), Intellego (subsequently integrated into International Rectifier), Cell Microsystems (, and Altis Biosystems ( Dr. Allbritton is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Institute for Medical & Biological Engineering, and the National Academy of Inventors. She obtained her B.S. in physics from Louisiana State University, M.D. from Johns Hopkins University, and Ph.D. in Medical Physics/Medical Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, with a postdoctoral fellowship at Stanford University.

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Intestine on Chip for Normal Physiology and Disease Models

Monday, 22 March 2021 at 11:45

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Organ-on-chips are miniaturized devices that arrange living cells to simulate functional subunits of tissues and organs. These microdevices provide exquisite control of tissue microenvironment for the investigation of organ-level physiology and disease. A 3D polarized epithelium using primary human or mouse gastrointestinal stem cells was developed to fully recapitulate gastrointestinal epithelial architecture and physiology. A planar monolayer comprised of stem/proliferative and differentiated primary cells is cultured on a shaped hydrogel scaffold with an array of crypt-like structures replicating the intestinal architecture. Imposition of chemical gradients across the crypt long axis yields a polarized epithelium with a stem-cell niche and differentiated cell zone. The stem cells proliferate, migrate and differentiate along the crypt axis as they do in vivo. A dense mucus layer is formed on the luminal epithelial surface that is impermeable to bacteria and acts a barrier to toxins. An oxygen gradient across the tissue mimic permits luminal culture of anaerobic bacteria while maintaining an oxygenated stem cell niche. This in vitro human colon crypt array replicates the architecture, luminal accessibility, tissue polarity, cell migration, and cellular responses of in vivo intestinal crypts. A thick impenetrable layer of mucus with biophysical parameters similar to that of a living human can be formed for epithelial cell-microbe studies. Intestinal biopsy samples can be used to populate these constructs to produce patient-specific tissues for personalized medicine and disease modeling. This bioanalytical platform is envisioned as a next-generation system for assay of microbiome-behavior, drug-delivery and toxin-interactions with the intestinal epithelia.

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