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Project cofinanced by REACT-EU to mitigate the effects of the pandemic crisis

Project Title: „Enclosed lung on a chip system development suitable for respiratory disease research in BSL3 and microgravity systems. (LoCBox)”

Funding: European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), Measure “Support for applied research”

Project No.:

Period: 1 January 2022 – 30 November 2023

Project costs: 500 000.00 EUR

Principle Investigator: Prof. Arūrs Ābols

Cooperation partner: SIA”Cellboxlab”

Project summary:

This project aims to overcome technical challenges when working with organ on chip models in biological safety level 3 (BSL3) environment and microgravity by developing enclosed test system capable of cultivating cells and be compatible with BLS3 workflow and microgravity systems. Lung on chip model will be tested with pseudoviruses, SARS-Cov-2 and in microgravity device as a proof of principle study.  The following research activities are planned to be carried out during the project:

  • Enclosed system development (LoCBox)
  • LoCBox prototype testing with pseudoviruses
  • LoCBox prototype testing with SARS-Cov-2
  • LoCBox prototype testing with microgravity device
  • Project management and result dissemination

The main outcomes of the project are: two prototypes for lung on chips cultivation and experiments in biological safety level 3 environment and microgravity. We expect that this project will lead to availability of state of art test model and put Latvian Biomedical Research and study center in leading position in technical capabilities for cutting edge research of coronavirus and COVID-19

Information published 03.01.2022.

Progress of the project:

1 January 2022 – 31 March 2022

During this reporting period, we have integrated and optimised piezoelectric pumping solution for the organ on chip cultivation. We have made few iterations of the aluminium holder that holds the pump in place and interfaces with the liquid storage units, currently awaiting the final iteration before placing an order for a small batch. Next, we produced the first batch of COC/OSTE hybrid polymer organs on a chip for lung on a chip development for testing with SARS-COV-2 pseudoviruses. We have improved the OSTE/COC filling process by adjusting the device designs, yield improvement data will be calculated once a larger batch has been tested, but it seems >90% yield within the device is expected. Additionally, during this period, we engaged in public dissemination of project topic in student council of Riga Technical University organised online interview in Spiikiizi studio, titled “What if?”.

Information published 31.03.2022.

Progress of the project:

1 April 2022 – 30 June 2022

During this reporting period, we produced additional COC/OSTE hybrid polymer organs on a chip devices. We have established several lungs on a chip from primary cell cultures with air-liquid interphase. CAD designs, as well as physical prototypes, of BSL3 compatible micropumps have been developed. Cellbox Labs organised a price survey for materials necessary to build a custom BSL3 compatible enclosure. CAD design process of BSL3 compatible enclosure is on-going.

Information published 30.06.2022.