This week, I continued reviewing fluid dynamics text books and reading papers about modeling flow in a parallel plate flow chamber in order to begin analyzing a design modification for chambers used to study stem cell differentiation under shear stress. I learned that I should not have taken photographs of the chambers I am working with since they are not commercially available, and I switched to documenting an earlier model of the chambers. After speaking with researchers, I have a better understanding of which aspects of the design make it difficult to use, and I hope to address these concerns by proposing a new design that could expand the scope of the research being done with these chambers.
Toward the end of the week, I began working on a simplified bioreactor design based on a paper published in Science a few weeks ago. The original paper used a decellularized lung as a scaffold on which to grow cells from a mouse that served as a transplant recipient. Due to time constraints, I will not be able to test the bioreactor with decellularized/recellularized lungs from mice, but I will be able to test it with the intact tissue under cyclic stretch. If successful, this bioreactor could be used for further genetic studies and provide a system for expanded work on stem cell differentiation under stress.
In just a few days, I have been exposed to more animal research than ever before. I have been fortunate to learn more about features of mouse anatomy as well as healing responses that are absent in humans. This knowledge will likely be useful as I progress in my PhD research.
The week ended with literature searches, a brief study of anatomy, and the realization that very few people are capable of threading a catheter into the pulmonary vein of a mouse's heart.