A microfluidic approach to investigating vascular cell fate at the single-cell level

University of Strathclyde

Active award

Student: Ellis Smith

Year Award Started: 2018

Cardiovascular disease remains the leading cause of death worldwide and stems from changes in blood vessel structure. As a result of cell accumulation and growth in the vessel’s inner layers, “plaques” form that narrow arteries and obstruct blood flow. However, uncertainties remain over the origin of the cells populating plaques, the behavioural changes they undergo during disease and the role of interactions between different cell types. This project will shed new light on the mechanisms causing abnormal proliferation of vascular cells and the cell sub-populations involved. Understanding this, and especially the variations existing at the single cell level, is critical to developing new treatments. Therefore, we will develop a new methodology to continuously track the functional changes that single cells from the vascular wall undergo in response to various stimuli and drug treatments. In collaboration with AMS Biotechnology (Europe) Ltd, we will develop a novel system capable of continuous microscopy monitoring of single cells, whose chemical and physical interactions are regulated by microfluidic technology, enabling precise control over the local biochemical environment and drug screening assays. This project will provide new information on the proliferative capacity of vascular subpopulations, as well as a novel system for live-cell phenotypic screening.

Research area: Cardiovascular conditions


Dr Michele Zagnoni
Department of Electronic and Electrical Engineering
Dr Mairi Sandison
Department of Electronic and Electrical Engineering

AMS Biotechnology (Europe) Limited