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2011 Pritzker Distinguished Lecturer Michael L. Shuler

Building a 'Body-On-A-Chip': Towards Better Drug Development

Michael L. ShulerJames and Marsha McCormick Chair of Biomedical Engineering
and Samuel Eckert Professor of Chemical Engineering, Cornell University

The Pritzker Institute of Biomedical Science and Engineering welcomed the 2011 Pritzker Distinguished Lecturer Michael L. Shuler, who presented "Building a 'Body-On-A-Chip': Towards Better Drug Development," at on Friday, March 18, 2011.

Shuler has been a member of the Cornell faculty since 1974 and has earned two teaching awards. He is a fellow of the American Institute of Medical and Biological Engineers, for which he has served as vice president for education. He has received the Amgen Award in biochemical engineering and was elected to membership in the National Academy of Engineers and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He is on the editorial boards of four scientific journals.

Shuler's recent research seeks to understand the response of the human body to various pharmaceuticals through the development of a an vitro system that combines microfabrication and cell cultures and is guided by a computer model of the body. This in vitro system is called a micro cell culture analog (microCCA) or a "Body-on-a-Chip".

A microCCA device contains mammalian cells cultured in interconnected micro-chambers to represent key body organs linked through the circulatory system and is a physical representation of a physiologically based pharmacokinetic model. MicroCCAs can reveal toxic effects that result from interactions between organs as well as provide realistic, inexpensive, accurate, rapid throughput toxicological studies that do not require animals. The advantages of operating on a microscale include the ability to mimic physiological relationships more accurately. Microfabricated devices with cell cultures provide a viable alternative to animal models to predict toxicity and efficacy in response to pharmaceuticals.