Design and Prototyping of a novel "Organs-on-a-Chip" Bioreactor System for Substance Testing

This work was conducted by 

Fraunhofer IWS Dresden, TU Berlin, ProBioGen AG Berlin, GeSiM mbH


The prototype of this "organs-on-a-chip" (OOC) platform is supposed to enable studies of the interaction of consumer-relevant synthetic or natural substances with the human body in its typical environments and with its individual genotypic specificities. It has been designed for the long-term culture of human sub-organoids in small cavities of a microfludic flow-through cell.

Design of the Multi-Bioreactor Chip

A double sided micromachined silicon chip at the size of a standard glass slide is the heart of the bioreactor. It contains the growth segments and the cavities for the stem cells. The silicon chip is than enhanced with a PDMS layer shaping fluidic structures for supply and removal of reagents.

  • Standard microscope slide format
  • Six identical micro-bioreactor systems per chip
  • Common central medium reservoir
  • Live tissue imaging
 Each micro-bioreactor consists of
  • Three ogan growth segments
  • A stem cell niche cavity
  • Three behavior sensors
  • Three waste reservoirs
  Layout of the bioreactor chip

Technology Functions Cross section of a single bioreactor
(2000 µm)
Channels and reservoirs  
(200 µm)
Lithography, laserClosing layer
(400 µm)
Lithography, laserChannels, organ growth segments & stem cell niche 
(200 µm)
Sensors and heatersSensors and heaters

The micromachining department at GeSiM contributed to the development by:


GeSiM developed a docking station for unattended operation of the bioreactor chip. Laboratory compatibility was ensured by sticking to the common micro titer plate format (Approx. 125 mm x 83 mm). Therefore the bioreactor docking station fits to common laboratory robots, shakers, incubators, microscope stages and others.


  • Data exchange with PC
  • Battery based operation for at least 2 hours
  • Automatic charging in the docking station
  • Data acquisition and logging for at least 14 days (E.g. temperature)
  • Monitoring and alerting function for limit values

For more details and preliminary results please contact us or see here:

Organs-on-a-chip (Poster) Design and prototyping of a novel "Organs-on-a-chip"-bioreactor system for substance testing