Stiffness measurement for cardiac microtissues, the effect of stiffness on tissue contractility

Introduction and goal

Within the project “myocardium in a dish”, our goal is to create engineered cardiac microtissues that can be used to better understand healthy and diseased cardiac physiology. Cardiac microtissues are created by seeding cardiac cells in a hydrogel in microfabricated tissue gauges (µTUGs). This system contains flexible microposts as biaxial or uniaxal constraints to manipulate tissue organization. Upon beating of the tissues, micropost displacement can be used to measure tissue contractility. Using this system, we investigated the effect of (an)isotropy on tissue contractility, but the effect of tissue stiffness on contractility remains unclear. Therefore, in this project, you will explore the possibilities of measuring microtissue stiffness and develop a protocol for these measurements. When the techniques have been optimized, you will investigate the effect of tissues stiffness on microtissue contractility by manipulating the tissue properties.

Techniques

In this project, you will explore the possibilities of measuring microtissue stiffness and develop a protocol for these measurements. When these techniques have been optimized, you will investigate the effect of tissues stiffness on microtissue contractility by manipulating the tissue properties. This project will mainly focus on stiffness measurements and optimization of this protocol. Furthermore, you will use soft lithography techniques to create the µTUGs, and cell isolation and culture techniques to seed and culture microtissues.