Yun Seok Heo
Associate Professor, Biomedical Engineering, School of Medicine
Keimyung University, Korea
Microfluidic applications for Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART)
Many biological studies, drug screening methods, and cellular therapies require preservation, culture, and manipulation of living cells outside their natural environment. The gap between the cellular microenvironment in vivo and in vitro and non-physiological preservation conditions such as low temperatures and cryoprotectant toxicity, however, pose challenges for obtaining physiologically relevant responses from cells used in basic biological studies or drug screenings and for achieving the maximum functional potential from cells used therapeutically. The micro- and nano- technologies and methods close the physiological gap to provide biological information otherwise unobtainable and enhance cellular performance in therapeutic applications. This talk will present multidisciplinary efforts directed towards the development of biomedical micro- and nano systems inspired by the human body and biophysics. Specifically, this talk will deal with i) A microfluidic system that improves in vitro fertilization (IVF) technology by recreating spatio-temporal patterns of chemical and fluid mechanical environments that cells may experience in the body, ii) Microfluidic systems for single cell analysis: embryo metabolism and controlled cryoprotectant loading profiles, iii) Microcapillary heat and mass transfer system for “ice-free” cryopreservation (or vitrification) of cells.