An <i>In Vitro</i> Microfluidic Alveolus Model to Study Lung Biomechanics.


The gas exchange units of the lung, the alveoli, are mechanically active and undergo cyclic deformation during breathing. The epithelial cells that line the alveoli contribute to lung function by reducing surface tension via surfactant secretion, which is highly influenced by the breathing-associated mechanical cues. These spatially heterogeneous mechanical cues have been linked to several physiological and pathophysiological states. Here, we describe the development of a microfluidically assisted lung cell culture model that incorporates heterogeneous cyclic stretching to mimic alveolar respiratory motions. Employing this device, we have examined the effects of respiratory biomechanics (associated with breathing-like movements) and strain heterogeneity on alveolar epithelial cell functions. Furthermore, we have assessed the potential application of this platform to model altered matrix compliance associated with lung pathogenesis and ventilator-induced lung injury. Lung microphysiological platforms incorporating human cells and dynamic biomechanics could serve as an important tool to delineate the role of alveolar micromechanics in physiological and pathological outcomes in the lung.





Published Version (Please cite this version)


Publication Info

Kumar, Vardhman, Sajeesh Kumar Madhurakkat Perikamana, Aleksandra Tata, Jiaul Hoque, Anna Gilpin, Purushothama Rao Tata and Shyni Varghese (2022). An In Vitro Microfluidic Alveolus Model to Study Lung Biomechanics. Frontiers in bioengineering and biotechnology, 10. p. 848699. 10.3389/fbioe.2022.848699 Retrieved from

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Aleksandra Tata

Assistant Research Professor of Cell Biology

Purushothama Rao Tata

Associate Professor of Cell Biology

Lung regeneration
Lung stem cells
Cell plasticity
Organoid models
Lung Fibrosis
Single Cell Biology


Shyni Varghese

Laszlo Ormandy Distinguished Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery

Shyni Varghese has a triple appointment in the Duke departments of Biomedical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science, and Orthopaedic Surgery. She is the first MEDx Investigator.

A leader in the field of biomaterials and stem cells, Varghese will develop her research at Duke in three major areas:

  • Musculoskeletal tissue repair
  • Disease biophysics, and
  • Organ-on-a-chip technology

A new initiative of the Pratt School of Engineering and Duke School of Medicine, Duke MEDx seeks to enhance and form new collaborations between doctors and engineers.

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