Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Science


Mechanical Engineering


Mechanical Engineering

First Advisor

Nastaran Hashemi


Organ-on a-chip technology is becoming a popular method for drug testing. Microfluidic Organ-on-a-chip eliminates the need for live objects, such as animals, to do drug testing. Although the Organ-on-a-chip devices are becoming popular, creating a microfluidic device to represent human placenta is more challenging than other organs. Current drug testing methods are considered unethical and unreliable due to drug testing on animals and cost. The human placenta is a temporary organ created during pregnancy to connect fetus and its mother to allow nutrient supply, gas exchange, waste elimination, and avoid internal infections. Researchers wanted to study how the two-way traffic reacts when it’s blocked by bacteria/viruses while it transfers the nutrients/ oxygen, since the lack of transportation can affect the health of the mother and the fetus. When animal organs are used for testing on the human placenta, inconsistent results have been found due to the differences among species in physiological functions of human placental barrier, including permeability, transport of supplements, patterns of blood flow, and even in metabolic activities. Our “Placenta-on-a-chip” device is designed to represent a working placenta organ using human cells in order to imitate the nutrient/waste transfer between the maternal blood and fetal blood. HUVEC cells (endothelial) and BeWo cells (trophoblast) were used to represent the placental barrier with a high concentrated collagen coated membrane. The objective is to analyze the glucose transport between the endothelial-trophoblast barrier through the membrane. In the future, researchers will have the opportunity to use the placenta-on-a-chip model for additional research in drug testing.

Trans-epithelial electrical resistance (TEER) is a useful method to study the performance of the cell growth in organ-on-a-chip devices. The latest published reports that use this method to find the TEER measurements conclude a large variation in same and different cell line studies. The current study was motivated to find an efficient method to monitor and study the cell growth in the chip system. Indeed, the transcellular-paracellular circuit was used with considerable changes to reduce the large variations shown in literature.


Copyright Owner

Rajeendra Lakruwan Pemathilaka



File Format


File Size

76 pages