Lehigh University logo
Lehigh University logo
Lehigh University logo

Colin Orr

Quantifying Blood Vessel Permeability on a Microfluidic Platform

Departments: Bioengineering
Advisor: Yaling Liu

Microfluidics is an emerging field of research that seeks to utilize various platforms to model systems in the body, including blood vessels. By using microfluidic devices, in vitro tests can be performed in a setting that closely replicates an in vivo blood vessel. The purpose of this study is to use a microfluidic platform to characterize the permeability of blood vessels under inflammatory conditions. The platform utilized in this study consists of two channels that overlap perpendicularly and are separated by a thin membrane. Endothelial cells are seeded into the top channel along its length, while an inflammatory response inducing agent, such as TNF-a, is placed in the bottom channel. Then, fluorescent dye is flowed through the top channel over the cells, where any gaps in the cell layer will allow the dye to permeate to the bottom channel. The fluorescent intensity is measured in the bottom channel and the permeability of the cell layer is characterized and compared to the uninflamed condition. Initial tests have been successful and proven that the experimental setup and the device is capable of obtaining the appropriate data. There was a significant increase in permeability in response to the inflammatory agent. Since the concept and device are now both proven, the study will progress to include real time measurements as flow is occurring as well as a deeper investigation into permeability to include diffusion of particles and proteins under these conditions in the device.

About Colin Orr:
Colin Orr is a senior bioengineering major at Lehigh University. He began his research in Dr. Yaling Liu’s lab in May 2013 and is currently researching applications of a microfluidic device developed by the Liu lab. Aside from research, Colin is also a past president and current brother of the Delta Chi fraternity at Lehigh University. Furthermore, Colin has participated in Relay for Life each of his four years at Lehigh and is currently a team captain. He enjoys participating in intramurals, hanging out with friends and brothers, and eating good food. He is attempting to learn piano and enjoys taking time each day to take a break from school to play. After graduation, Colin hopes to find a job in the medical device industry, although he may remain at Lehigh one more year pursue his Master’s degree in bioengineering.