The SAMOSS project is part of an Innovative Training Network (ITN) that brings together universities, research centers and companies, such as Micronit, from different countries worldwide to train a new generation of scientists. The focus is to presenting students with the opportunity to broaden their skill set and therefore better prepare for their future careers. Micronit worked on the SAMOSS project in close collaboration with different academic groups, also hosting PhD students in its laboratories.
The SAMOSS project (Sample In – Answer Out Optochemical Sensing Systems) focussed on developing optochemical sensor systems that are capable of performing a chain of operations. Starting from autonomous sample processing to reporting the result. Interesting compounds, for example, included mycotoxins or antibiotics in foods, drugs in healthcare products and endocrine disruptors such as contraceptive hormones in environmental samples.
For this project Micronit had two main goals:
- To develop a chip for the detection of fungi (in collaboration with Complutense Universitad de Madrid).
- To develop versatile microfluidic cell culturing platforms with an optical readout to screen environmental samples (in collaboration with the Rijksuniversiteit Groningen).
Detection of fungi
The University of Madrid developed a sensor that was able to detect the DNA of fungi. The sensor binds the target DNA to a magnetic bead and an optically detectable label, making it possible to “visualise” the quantity of DNA in a vial. This process requires several manual operations, making it difficult to compare the results obtained from different operators. Micronit worked on the development of a device able to perform this operation automatically. The device is currently working towards the proof of concept phase, and the target is to produce a laboratory prototype containing all the functionalities needed to produce a portable device.
Versatile microfluidic cell culturing platforms
The University of Groningen (RUG) is developing in vitro models for endothelial cell cultures in collaboration with Micronit and the Austrian Institute of Technology (AIT). Micronit customised one of its commercial devices (a resealable flow cell) according to the inputs received from the researchers from the RUG, making it suitable for simultaneous cell culturing and in situ capture of soluble factors released by the cells in stress conditions. Thanks to the recently obtained spotting capabilities, Micronit also helped integrating the antibodies in the chips, following the protocols developed by RUG and AIT. The devices are currently under test in the laboratories in Groningen.