MIT Department: Mechanical Engineering
Undergraduate Institution: University of Maryland, College Park
Faculty Mentor: Ellen Roche
Research Supervisor: Claudia Varela
I was born and raised in Brazil, and am a mechanical engineering major with a minor in computer science at the University of Maryland, College Park. My research interests are in biohybrid machines, robotics, bioinspired engineering, artificial intelligence, and neuroscience. Beyond pursuing a PhD, I hope to contribute to a future with versatile machines that can sustainably integrate with humans and the human environment. Additionally, biohybrid systems have the potential to create physiologically relevant in vitro environments for testing novel therapies and growing transplantable tissues. I enjoy movies, plays, music, games, drawing, travelling, and photography.
2018 Research Abstract
An In-Vitro Platform for Mechanical Stimulation of Myocardial Slices
Samuel Dutra Gollob1, Claudia Elena Varela2,3 and Ellen Roche3,4
1Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Maryland-College Park
2Harvard-MIT Program in Health Sciences and Technology
3Institute for Medical Engineering and Science, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
4Department of Mechanical Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Myocardial slices are desirable systems for studying cardiac pathology in vitro, as they can sustain long-term culture and preserve the multicellular architecture of in vivo tissue. There is a significant amount of work described in creating proper chemical environments for tissue culture. However, there is no system for controlled mechanical loading, which is known to have a major role in modulating cardiac physiology and pathology. To address this, we have developed a platform that provides controlled loading to a myocardial tissue slice. The modular platform is designed to mimic physiological conditions, generating uniaxial cyclic loading through a moving plate and normal compression through a thermoformed soft actuator. The forces provided by the soft actuator were characterized using a mechanical tester, and the strains on a tissue proxy were approximated through image-processing-based models. This characterization shows that the platform can provide a controlled mechanical environment for tissue culture. Ongoing work seeks to replace the rigid moving plate with another thermoformed soft actuator, as well as testing the platform with live tissue. The potential for this system extends beyond a more accurate culture environment: it allows studies on the effects of mechanical loading on cardiac pathology and is not restricted to only myocardial tissue slices.