Trauma, inflammation, infection, and aging can cause damages to joint tissues, ultimately leading to arthritic disorders, including osteoarthritis, that cause physical disability and compromise the quality of life. Despite being the most common degenerative joint disease, affecting almost 1 in 6 people, osteoarthritis has no effective treatments. This is due to a poor understanding of the disease and the lack of relevant in vitro models that can mimic native join biology and architecture for further analysis. This work is aimed at engineering a 3D human micro-joint chip (mJoint), which is physiologically analogous to the native joint and capable of modeling pathogenesis of joint diseases.
This project proposes the design and fabrication of an integrated bioreactor or chip platform, with a total size smaller than 50 mm x 50 mm x 4 mm, which is capable of housing multiple native tissue components, including cartilage, bone, synovial membrane, and infrapatellar fat pad. In addition, this bioreactor/chip will have the feature of “plug-and-play”, allowing adding or removing one or two tissues quickly, to replicate different physiological conditions.