Project Summary

Biological barriers are the protective structures of our bodies that separate the “inside” from the “outside” with the role to provide the body with a stable environment. Each barrier has its own distinct design and biological structure but common to all is that they comprise several different cell types that strictly control the passage of molecules to avoid the introduction of compounds that could be harmful for us. Whilst this has evolved to benefit us, at the same time it can be a challenge for drug delivery, as all pharmaceuticals have to cross at least one biological barrier before they can work.

The overall aim of this project is to fabricate organs-on-chip model systems of biological barriers in biologically-derived materials. To achieve this, we focus on developing a microfabriation tool-box of hydrogels with the aim to unlock the use of next generation animal-free ‘barrier-on-chip’ models that can be used to speed up drug development, serve as screening platforms for nanotoxicology and help medical researchers to understand how drug delivery works.

The ERC Starting Grant SONGBIRD ended in March 2023.


14.  A.M. Porras Hernández, M. Tenje and M. Antfolk. Cell chirality exhibition of brain microvascular endothelial cells is dependent on micropattern width. RSC Advances 12 (2022) 30135 – 30144. DOI: 10.1039/D2RA05434E 

13.  A.M. Porras Hernández, L. Barbe, H. Pohlit, M. Tenje and M. Antfolk. Confocal imaging dataset to assess endothelial cell orientation during extreme glucose conditions. Scientific Data 9 (2022) 26 DOI: 10.1038/s41597-022-01130-x

12.  L. Xiao, S. Johansson, S. Rughöft, F. Burki, M. Mendez Sandin, M. Tenje and L. Behrendt. Photophysiological response of Symbiodiniaceae single cells to temperature stress, The ISME Journal 16 (2022) 2060-2064. Picked as Editor’s Choice April 2022 DOI: 10.1038/s41396-022-01243-6 

11.  A. Fornell, T. Baasch, C. Johannesson, J. Nilsson and M. Tenje. Binary acoustic trapping in a glass capillary, Journal of Physics D: Applied Physics 54 (2021) 355401 (9pp). DOI: 10.1088/1361-6463/ac0841

10.  Z. Liu, A. Fornell and M. Tenje. A droplet acoustofluidic platform for time-controlled microbead-based enzymatic reactions, Biomicrofluidics 15 (2021) 034103. DOI: 10.1063/5.0050440

9.  A. Fornell, H. Pohlit, Q. Shi and M. Tenje. Acoustic focusing of beads and cells in hydrogel droplets, Scientific Reports 11 (2021) 7479. DOI: 10.1038/s41598-021-86985-7

8.  F. Cantoni, G. Werr, L. Barbe, A.M. Porras Hernández, M. Tenje. A microfluidic chip carrier including temperature control and perfusion system for long-term cell imaging. HardwareX 10 (2021) e00245. DOI: 10.1016/j.ohx.2021.e0024

7.  A.M. Porras Hernández, L. Barbe, H. Pohlit, M. Tenje and M. Antfolk. Brain microvasculature endothelial cell orientation on micropatterned hydrogels is afected by glucose level variations, Scientific Reports 11 (2021) 19608. DOI: 10.1038/s41598-021-99136-9

6.  S. Fuchs, S. Johansson, A. Ø. Tjell, G. Werr, T. Mayr and M. Tenje. In-Line Analysis of Organ-on-Chip Systems with Sensors: Integration, Fabrication, Challenges, and Potential. ACS Biomaterials Science & Engineering 7 (2021) 7, 2926–2948. DOI: 10.1021/acsbiomaterials.0c01110

5.  M. Andersson, S. Johansson, H. Bergman, L. Xiao, L. Behrendt and M. Tenje. A microscopy-compatible temperature regulation system for single-cell phenotype analysis – demonstrated by thermoresponse mapping of microalgae. Lab on a Chip 21 (2021) 1694-1705. DOI: 10.1039/D0LC01288B

4.  V. Paloschi, M. Sabater-Lleal, H. Middelkamp, A. Vivas, S. Johansson, A. van der Meer, M. Tenje and  L. Maegdefessel. Organ-on-a-chip technology: a novel approach to investigate cardiovascular diseases. Cardiovascular Research 117 (2021) 2742-2754. Invited Review Article. DOI: 10.1093/cvr/cvab088

3.  M. Tenje, F. Cantoni, A.M. Porras Hernández, S.S. Searle, S. Johansson, L. Barbe, M. Antfolk and H. Pohlit. A practical guide to microfabrication and patterning of hydrogels for biomimetic cell culture scaffolds, Organs-on-a-chip 2 (2020) 100003. DOI: 10.1016/j.ooc.2020.100003

2.  A.M. Porras Hernández, H. Pohlit, F. Sjögren, L. Shi, D. Ossipov, M. Antfolk and M. Tenje. A simplified approach to control cell adherence on biologically derived in vitro cell culture scaffolds by direct UV-mediated RGD linkage. Journals of Materials Science: Materials in Medicine 31 (2020) 89-98. DOI: 10.1007/s10856-020-06446-x

1.  A. Fornell, C. Johannesson, S. S. Searle, A. Happstadius, J. Nilsson, and M. Tenje. An acoustofluidic platform for non-contact trapping of cell-laden hydrogel droplets compatible with optical microscopy. Biomicrofluidics 13 (2019) 044101. DOI: 10.1063/1.5108583


We gratefully acknowledge funding from the European Research Council under grant agreement no. 757444

Duration: 01 Jan 2018 - 31 Apr 2023


Last modified: 2023-08-31