Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Science


Mechanical Engineering


Mechanical Engineering

First Advisor

Nastaran Hashemi


In this experiment, a 3D microfluidic chip is designed and fabricated to replicate the function of the placenta. This sort of device has the potential to overtake current in vitro methods and become a physiologically relevant alternative to animal testing for the purpose of drug testing and toxicology.

First, PDMS layers were constructed with microchannels using a soft lithography method. These layers come together to “sandwich” a membrane coated with collagen. Once sealed, the physiologically appropriate cells are grown to represent the nutrient/waste transfer of the placenta. Human Umbilical Vein Endothelial Cells (HUVEC) were grown on one side of the device and human trophoblast cells (BeWo) were grown on the other. The midsections of the channels are aligned so that the two cell groups are able to interact with one another across the membrane environment. Flow is administered through both channels at a rate of 6 µl/hr.

Utilizing the same basic design, a liver-on-a-chip was also investigated. . Human Umbilical Vein Endothelial Cells (HUVEC) were grown on one side of the device and either human liver carcinoma cells (HepG2). To better mimic the true in vivo microenvironment, the HepG2 cells are suspended in fibrin gel and flow is induced on only the endothelial channel at a constant flow rate of 6 µl/hr. Ethanol tests were performed on the liver-on-a-chip in which various concentrations were introduced into the medium, leading to a better representation of ethanol-induced liver toxicity.


Copyright Owner

Jeremy D. Caplin



File Format


File Size

119 pages