team photo

Figure 1
project photo

Biomedical Engineering
Team 25

Team Members


Nicholas Hartunian
John Riordan
Caroline Thompson

Syam Nukavarapu Ph.D.

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Automation of Cartilage Tissue Decellularization

Decellularization is the process of removing the cells from a tissue, leaving only the extracellular components behind. Biological scaffolds composed of extracellular matrix (ECM) are highly useful for regenerative medicine. Decellularized ECM scaffolds have been shown to induce cell mitogenesis and chemotaxis as well as direct cell differentiation, in ways that non-native scaffolds cannot.

The goal of this design experiment was to develop a device that automates a cartilage decellularization protocol. This device enables a researcher to program the desired protocol details, walk away, and return to decellularized tissue. An automated decellularization device presents great promise for tissue engineering research and development, as it streamlines a formerly tedious and potentially inconsistent protocol.

The prototype design concept that is proposed consists of seven identical carboys, each connected to a respective solenoid valve with binary fluid control. The bioreactor chamber housing the cartilage will be similar to the carboys; however, it will be equipped with an ultrasonic sensor to monitor fluid levels. The automation of the decellularization protocol will result in a more standardized final tissue scaffold. Moreover, our device will enable the researcher to modify the decellularization protocol much more easily, enabling experimental benefits.