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The current cover of Nature Protocols features the latest work of BME Assistant Professor William J. Polacheck, a collaboration with his former colleagues at The Wyss Institute, Harvard University and Biomedical Engineering at Boston University. “Microfabricated blood vessels for modeling the vascular transport barrier” is about understanding the molecular pathways and mechanisms that regulate the permeability of blood vessels, which is of critical importance for developing therapies for cardiovascular dysfunction and disease.

Dr. Polacheck and his team recently developed a novel microfluidic human engineered microvessel (hEMV) platform to enable controlled blood flow through a human endothelial lumen within a physiologic 3D extracellular matrix (ECM) into which pericytes and other stromal cells can be introduced to recapitulate tissue-specific microvascular physiology. The published protocol describes how to design and fabricate the silicon hEMV device master molds (takes ~1 week) and elastomeric substrates (takes 3 d); how to seed, culture, and apply calibrated fluid shear stress to hEMVs (takes 1–7 d); and how to assess vascular barrier function (takes 1 d) and perform immunofluorescence imaging (takes 3 d). You can read the publication in full here.

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