Drug Discovery Day 2024: Gaining Human-Relevant Insights into Infectious Disease

In this session, our expert speakers highlight how they have used Organ-Chips to study viral and bacterial infection, including SARS-CoV-2, Nipah virus, and Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Watch to learn how you can gain deeper insights into infectious disease pathogenesis, infection-induced inflammatory response, and more. 

Talk 1: Human Lung Microfluidic Chip: Nipah Virus Disease Modeling and Antiviral Treatments in Maximum Containment

Sushma Bhosle, PhD

Molecular Virology Associate Study Director


Dr. Bhosle’s research group at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) leveraged human Small Airway Lung-Chips to model Nipah (NiV) virus disease modelling in maximum containment. They demonstrated the application of NiV-infected Small Airway Lung-Chips towards therapeutic evaluation of antiviral drugs. Further, successful recapitulation of neutrophil infiltration, critical immune responses, activation of endothelium leading to inflammation was achieved with human Lung-Chips. 

Talk 2: Early events in tuberculosis—harnessing microphysiological models to study humanity’s oldest foe

Vivek Thacker, PhD

Group Leader

University of Heidelberg Medical Facility 

Tissue microenvironments profoundly influence infection and treatment outcomes; but their roles can be difficult to dissect in a mechanistic manner. This is particularly so for tuberculosis, whose early stages of infection in alveoli are difficult to study in any animal model and not recapitulated in typical in vitro models of infection. In this talk, Dr. Thacker will describe how microphysiological models such as Organ-Chips are powerful tools to fill this gap and provide new insights into how obligate pathogens, such as Mycobacterium tuberculosis, adapt to specific tissue niches and what consequences this may have for treatment outcomes.

Talk 3: Application of Airway-on-Chip Models to study Bacterial Lung Infection

Amy Ryan, PhD

Associate Professor of Anatomy and Cell Biology

University of Iowa

Many lung diseases, both acute and chronic, are associated with bacterial infection damaging the integrity of the epithelial barrier. Dr. Ryan’s recent collaborative research has developed Airway-on-chip models, which offer a microscale platform that mimics many features of human lung physiology. This platform facilitates the investigation of bacterial lung infections by replicating key features of the airway environment, including directional air flow and stretch. These models enable real-time monitoring of bacterial behavior and host responses, advancing our understanding of infection dynamics and the development of targeted therapeutic strategies.