Introduction

Over the last 50 years genetics and biochemistry experiments over cells cultured on flat substrates have contributed a great amount for today’s biology knowledge. However, cell physiology indicates that in mammalian tissues cells connect with a solid 3D extracellular matrix (ECM), which affects cell function. The last 10 years, in order to bridge the gap concerning the surrounding of cells, 3D cell culture models have been adopted where cells are being studied inside ECM analogs. It is about a variety of materials, called biomaterials. These 3D cell culture models are very promising in improving current biological responses permitting cells to grow in an environment that more closely mimics their physiology or pathology.

The increasing and evolving study of 3D cell culture inside biomaterials promotes the use of advanced technological systems, permitting the control of several parameters, which have not been studied before.

This diploma thesis is about the design and fabrication of a simple and versatile device for studying automated cell culture inside porous collagen scaffolds. The purpose of this thesis is the identification and control of certain parameters that influence cell culture inside scaffolds and the adaptation of automated technological systems. Such tools can form the basis for novel platforms for high – throughput proteomic experiments which in turn paves the way for drug screening platforms, diseases models etc. In this study, the basic requirements and the design and manufacturing process are being studied for the device developed. Subsequently, the impact of automated fluid flow through the scaffold and automated cell seeding inside the scaffold through the device are being tested in order to improve cell culture protocols.