Belta’s group is part of a new NSF GCR award titled “GCR 2219101 Collaborative Research: Micro-bio-genetics for Programmable Organoid Formation”. The total expected amount of the award is $3,600,000, of which the expected BU part is $900,000. The expected duration is 5 years starting on 10/01/2022.
The goal of this collaboration among MIT, BU and the University of Delaware is to define a new area of dynamically-controlled, robot-assisted biological design. A convergent research team consisting of experts in microrobotics, machine learning, and synthetic biology will focus on developing a radically new approach towards analyzing and replicating intricate cellular patterning in mammalian tissues. Not only will this research result in new biological rules, synthetic biology tools, and microrobotics that can be applied in numerous disciplines, it will also create a new in vitro native-like liver organoid for biological and medical research. The work will open the door for research into the creation and repair of other synthetic human organs.
The research team will generate multiscale, multicellular patterns and synthesize 3D patterns with vasculature to produce native-like organs. To enable mapping of pattern design problems to optimization problems, the researchers will define novel machine learning techniques to classify and quantify cellular patterns. To enable control of bio-compatible robots that guide cell organization and differentiation processes, they plan to develop novel technologies that leverage and far exceed current microrobotics. This will enable insights into fundamental scientific questions about cell differentiation and connections between spatial organization and function.
The BU portion of the award: