Breathe Easy - Lung model to study particle inhalation and deposition

30 Oct 2015

Technion researchers, led by principal investigator Prof. Josué Sznitman of the Faculty of Biomedical Engineering, designed an in vitro platform for studying the dynamics of inhaled particles and ensuing deposition patterns inside pulmonary acini. 

Using microfluidic technology, they have constructed a true-scale pulmonary acinar model that allows - for the first time - direct time-resolved observation of airborne particle trajectories and mapping detailed deposition locations of aerosols.

The research paper describing this work, titled "Particle dynamics and deposition in true-scale pulmonary acinar models," was published online on September 11, 2015, in Nature Publishing Group's Scientific Reports.

The acinus-on-chip platform consists of an anatomically inspired, multi-generation network of bifurcating airway ducts lined with alveolar cavities, where the walls are periodically deformed in a physiologically realistic "breathing" fashion. 

"This artificial-breathing 'guinea pig' not only has the potential to serve as a screening tool to quantify the fate of inhaled particles inside the lung depths, such in vitro methods may also provide viable alternatives in the future to traditional, but controversial, animal testing," says Sznitman.

The interdisciplinary research involved colleagues at the Faculty of Biomedical Engineering and the Faculty of Civil and Environmental Engineering, the Technion Center of Excellence in Environmental Health and Exposure Science (TCEEH), the Micro-Nano Fabrication Unit,  and was supported by the Russell Berrie Nanotechnology Institute at Technion.

In February 2015, Sznitman and his doctoral student Rami Fishler patented the device.

In June 2015, Sznitman received the “Young Investigator Award” for a researcher aged less than 40 from the International Society of Aerosols in Medicine (ISAM).

-See more at: Technion Focus