Dan Huh’s Organs-on-Chips and Organoids: Best of Both Worlds

By Lauren Salig

, the Wilf Family Term Assistant Professor in the, focuses his research on creating organs-on-chips: specially manufactured micro-devices with human cells that mimic the natural cellular processes of organs. has engineered chips that approximate the functioning of and , some of which were in May. Most recently, Huh of organ-on-a-chip technology in the journal Science with graduate students Sunghee Estelle Park and Andrei Georgescu.

The June 2019 issue of Science is a special issue centered around the science of growing human organ models in the laboratory. Such in vitro organs are known as organoids; they grow and develop much like organs do in the body, as opposed to Huh’s organs-on-chips, in which cells from the relevant organs are grown within a fabricated device that imitates some of the organ’s functions and natural environment.

In a video accompanying the review article, Huh explains how organoid and organ-on-a-chip technologies differ and the advantages that accompany each approach:

Unlike Organs-on-a-Chip, which are heavily engineered man-made systems, organoids allow us to mimic the complexity of the human body in a more natural way. So organoids represent a more realistic model, but they have problems because they develop in a highly variable fashion and it’s not very easy to control their environment. So we think that Organ-on-a-Chip technology is a promising solution to many of these problems.

Read Huh, Park, and Georgescu’s review article at .

Penn Engineering

University of Pennsylvania’s School of Engineering and Applied Science

Penn Engineering

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Penn Engineering

University of Pennsylvania’s School of Engineering and Applied Science