Making Heart Tissue Dance
In our lab, we exercise engineered heart tissue to try to help it mature. Using tiny exercise machines that we control with precision actuators, we measure and control forces exerted by these small tissue bundles, which are comprised of a few thousand cardiomyocytes grown from stem cells. To further stimulate the tissues during exercise, we provide them with low voltage electrical pulses that cause them to beat like miniature hearts.
This project will involve building a second-generation apparatus that can deliver the programmed electrical pulses to the tissues. Work will include programming an Arduino Uno microprocessor, designing and building a soldered electronic circuit, designing and fabricating an enclosure for the system that includes laser cutting and CAD design and integrates needed components including power, adjustment knobs, and an interactive display. As a final goal, the system will be used to stimulate real tissues in our lab.
• Design an electronics circuit using a microprocessor, operational amplifiers, LCD displays, and potentiometers to produce a biphasic 2ms pulse with 10V amplitude at a repetition rate of once per second.
• Build prototypes, simulate design using online software.
• Design and integrate a self-contained enclosure comprising the control circuit, the power supply, the microprocessor, and the display.
• Document the design for open-source replication and use by others in the field.
• Cardiac microtissues: Understand how mechanical and electrical conditioning can benefit engineered heart tissues.
• Electronics/control: Learn how to design and build a useful electronic circuit.
• Computer aided design: Learn how to simulate circuits and structural components to build a prototype system.
• Fabrication: Learn to build a system independently using laser cutting, electrical assembly, soldering, and light machine tools.
Learn more about the Bifano Lab.