Penn Engineering
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Penn Engineering

Penn Engineering’s Blinking Eye-on-a-Chip Used for Disease Modeling and Drug Testing

A black-and-white photo of a Huh lab member holding up an eye-on-a-chip device. Its components are their true colors.
Rachel Young, a graduate student in Huh’s lab, holds up the new eye-on-a-chip device. The latest iteration of the lab’s eye-on-a-chip has a mechanical eyelid to simulate blinking, and was used to test an experimental drug for dry eye disease. By incorporating human cells into an engineered scaffolding, the eye-on-a-chip has many of the benefits of testing on living subjects, while minimizing risks and ethical concerns.
Dan Huh and Jeongyun Seo
The Huh lab’s eye-on-a-chip attached to a motorized, gel-based eyelid.
The Huh lab’s eye-on-a-chip attached to a motorized, gelatin-based eyelid. Blinking spreads tears over the corneal surface, and so was a critical aspect to replicate in the researchers’ model of dry eye disease. cells. The cells of the cornea grow on the inner circle of scaffolding, dyed yellow, and the cells of the conjunctiva grow on the surrounding red circle. Artificial tears are supplied by a tear duct, dyed blue.

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