i nvi/-ESR 5: Multi-compartment microfluidic model to improve gut microbiome-mediated immunotherapy efficiency.




Project Title: Multi-compartment microfluidic model to improve gut microbiome-mediated immunotherapy efficiency.

Objectives: Development of a gut/microbiome-on-chip to recapitulate the intricate interplay between gut, microbiome, immune cells and tumours. The ability to model such dynamic interactions in vitro will elucidate the underlying molecular mechanisms and suggest new approaches to improve the response to immunotherapy. During the project, a novel multi-compartment microfluidic platform will be designed. The ESR will be trained by a multidisciplinary team of engineers, biologists and clinicians.

The ESR will acquire competences in design tools (CAD, FEM), microfabrication techniques (photo- and soft-lithography), biological procedures (microbiome handling, bacteria isolation and culturing, immune-phenotyping), biological analyses on cultured microtissues (immunofluorescence, RT-PCR, drug response curves).

Expected Results: Leveraging our knowledge of the gut microbiome of patients that went through immunotherapy, and learning from the responses triggered in our system by individual or combinations of bacteria, this model will allow the screening of bioactive compounds that mimic the benefits of a favourable end/or prevent the detrimental effects of an unfavourable gut microbiome. Potentially, novel pharmacological approaches will be tested to improve the response of patients to immunotherapy.


Main Supervisors: Marco Rasponi (POLIMI), Luigi Nezi (EIO)

Duration: 36 months

Expected start date: 1 May 2020

Planned Secondment: EIO (6 months): in a first secondment at EIO during the 1st year, the ESR will be trained on cell culture techniques and microbiome extraction/preparation protocols. EOC (2 months), in the 2nd year to acquire knowledge on advanced assays in 3D organotypic microfluidic models. In both 2nd and 3rd third year the ESR will also participate to cell culture lab activities at EIO and will be seconded by UNIBAS (1 month) to learn tissue processing protocols during the third year.

Enrolment in Doctoral Degree: PhD in Bioengineering at Politecnico di Milano

For any specific requests on this project, please get in contact with Prof. Marco Rasponi (marco.rasponi@polimi.it)