Visualizing Opportunities Through a New Window
Mimetas, based in Leiden, Netherlands, is a pioneer in the rapidly growing organ-on-a-chip industry with their unique OrganoPlate® technology. The OrganoPlate uses a familiar 384-well microplate platform that supports up to 96 individual tissue models. The bottom of the plate is comprised of two layers of optical grade glass separated by a thin layer of microfluidic channels. Pump- and tube-free perfusion supplies media from feed wells through the microfluidic channels to the tissue samples when the plate is placed on a rocker. The user-friendly and high-throughput OrganoPlate benefits users in terms of simplified workflows, improved efficiencies, and increased reproducibility. On top of that, Mimetas offers contracted research services, where they directly apply their organ-on-a-chip technology and expertise according to a customer’s goals and needs.
Dr. Kristin Bircsak is a Senior Scientist at Mimetas’ Gaithersburg, MD research facility, where she develops and optimizes three-dimensional (3D) in vitro organ tissue models, including liver, prostate cancer, brain and more, for use with the OrganoPlate. She also develops assays to assess overall culture health and function in the organ models.
When the US-based location opened two years ago, imaging assays were performed using a standard microscope. The process was time-consuming and labor-intensive, and also hindered adoption of time-sensitive imaging methods such as the barrier integrity assay. Automation became a necessity, and as they considered several options in automated imaging systems, Kristin and the lab members determined that BioTek’s Cytation™ 1 was best suited for their needs. “We really appreciated the combination of automated microscope and plate reader as it saves time and space; and we were confident that Cytation 1 could satisfy most of our resolution needs as well,” notes Dr. Bircsak. The local and headquarter-based BioTek support teams were also cited for their high degree of responsiveness and help with the instrument before, during and after installation.
The lab is taking full advantage of the Cytation 1’s vast capabilities for determinations across the entire OrganoPlate. The brightfield imaging mode is used to assess cell culture morphology, while the fluorescence imaging mode measures viability and localization of target proteins within tissues. In addition to applying multiple fluorescent imaging filters at once, the Cytation 1 automatically captures images in multiple planes along the z-axis of the 3D cultures. Endpoint and kinetic assays are performed, including the aforementioned time-sensitive barrier integrity assay and detection-based assays such as ELISA and more. “I really enjoy that the imaging and detection modes are of top-quality because we use both frequently,” Dr. Bircsak says. “Having both technologies together in one unit also saves on bench space, and that’s a plus.” She and her lab mates also find the Cytation 1’s integrated Gen5™ software to be intuitive and easy to learn, adding, “once you learn the basics, it’s easy to explore, and opens up even more opportunities; it’s pretty incredible.”
With the Cytation 1 established as a true workhorse in the Mimetas lab, Dr. Bircsak is enthusiastic knowing that they can get more done in a day and also increase responsiveness to their customers who are working to find solutions to benefit health and wellbeing around the world.
Dr. Bircsak using the Cytation 1 at the Mimetas research facility in Gaithersburg, MD.
(A) The OrganoPlate high throughput organ-on-a-chip technology; photomicrographs taken with Cytation 1 of an OrganoPlate chip used in a barrier integrity assay, showing (B) no cells; (C) leak-tight tubes; and (D) leaking tubes.
To learn more about Mimetas, visit their web site.
Thanks to Dr. Kristin Bircsak at Mimetas for sharing her BioTek experience.