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  1. Abstract

    Microinjection is a technique used for transgenesis, mutagenesis, cell labeling, cryopreservation, and in vitro fertilization in multiple single and multicellular organisms. Microinjection requires specialized skills and involves rate-limiting and labor-intensive preparatory steps. Here, we constructed a machine-vision guided generalized robot that fully automates the process of microinjection in fruit fly (Drosophila melanogaster) and zebrafish (Danio rerio) embryos. The robot uses machine learning models trained to detect embryos in images of agar plates and identify specific anatomical locations within each embryo in 3D space using dual view microscopes. The robot then serially performs a microinjection in each detected embryo. We constructed and used three such robots to automatically microinject tens of thousands of Drosophila and zebrafish embryos. We systematically optimized robotic microinjection for each species and performed routine transgenesis with proficiency comparable to highly skilled human practitioners while achieving up to 4× increases in microinjection throughput in Drosophila. The robot was utilized to microinject pools of over 20,000 uniquely barcoded plasmids into 1,713 embryos in 2 days to rapidly generate more than 400 unique transgenic Drosophila lines. This experiment enabled a novel measurement of the number of independent germline integration events per successfully injected embryo. Finally, we showed that robotic microinjection of cryoprotective agents in zebrafish embryos significantly improves vitrification rates and survival of cryopreserved embryos post-thaw as compared to manual microinjection. We anticipate that the robot can be used to carry out microinjection for genome-wide manipulation and cryopreservation at scale in a wide range of organisms.

     
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  2. Organ transplantation remains the only treatment option for patients with end-stage organ failure. The last decade has seen a flurry of activity in improving organ preservation technologies, which promise to increase utilization in a dramatic fashion. They also bring the promise of extending the preservation duration significantly, which opens the doors to sharing organs across local and international boundaries and transforms the field. In this work, we review the recent literature on machine perfusion of livers across various protocols in development and clinical use, in the context of extending the preservation duration. We then review the next generation of technologies that have the potential to further extend the limits and open the door to banking organs, including supercooling, partial freezing, and nanowarming, and outline the opportunities arising in the field for researchers in the short and long term.

     
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available June 8, 2024
  3. Abstract

    Vitrification could enable long-term organ preservation, but only after loading high-concentration, potentially toxic cryoprotective agents (CPAs) by perfusion. In this paper, we combine a two-compartment Krogh cylinder model with a toxicity cost function to theoretically optimize the loading of CPA (VMP) in rat kidneys as a model system. First, based on kidney perfusion experiments, we systematically derived the parameters for a CPA transport loading model, including the following:Vb = 86.0% (ra = 3.86 μm),Lp = 1.5 × 10–14m3/(N·s),ω = 7.0 × 10–13 mol/(N·s),σ = 0.10. Next, we measured the toxicity cost function model parameters asα = 3.12 andβ = 9.39 × 10–6. Combining these models, we developed an improved kidney-loading protocol predicted to achieve vitrification while minimizing toxicity. The optimized protocol resulted in shorter exposure (25 min or 18.5% less) than the gold standard kidney-loading protocol for VMP, which had been developed based on decades of empirical practice. After testing both protocols on rat kidneys, we found comparable physical and biological outcomes. While we did not dramatically reduce toxicity, we did reduce the time. As our approach is now validated, it can be used on other organs lacking defined toxicity data to reduce CPA exposure time and provide a rapid path toward developing CPA perfusion protocols for other organs and CPAs.

     
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  4. Transfusion of red blood cells (RBCs) is one of the most valuable and widespread treatments in modern medicine. Lifesaving RBC transfusions are facilitated by the cold storage of RBC units in blood banks worldwide. Currently, RBC storage and subsequent transfusion practices are performed using simplistic workflows. More specifically, most blood banks follow the “first-in-first-out” principle to avoid wastage, whereas most healthcare providers prefer the “last-in-first-out” approach simply favoring chronologically younger RBCs. Neither approach addresses recent advances through -omics showing that stored RBC quality is highly variable depending on donor-, time-, and processing-specific factors. Thus, it is time to rethink our workflows in transfusion medicine taking advantage of novel technologies to perform RBC quality assessment. We imagine a future where lab-on-a-chip technologies utilize novel predictive markers of RBC quality identified by -omics and machine learning to usher in a new era of safer and precise transfusion medicine.

     
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available August 8, 2024
  5. Abstract

    Cryopreservation by vitrification has far-reaching implications. However, rewarming techniques that are rapid and scalable (both in throughput and biosystem size) for low concentrations of cryoprotective agent (CPA) for reduced toxicity are lacking, limiting the potential for translation. Here, we introduce a joule heating–based platform technology, whereby biosystems are rapidly rewarmed by contact with an electrical conductor that is fed a voltage pulse. We demonstrate successful cryopreservation of three model biosystems with thicknesses across three orders of magnitude, including adherent cells (~4 µm),Drosophila melanogasterembryos (~50 µm) and rat kidney slices (~1.2 mm) using low CPA concentrations (2–4 M). Using tunable voltage pulse widths from 10 µs to 100 ms, numerical simulation predicts that warming rates from 5 × 104to 6 × 108 °C/min can be achieved. Altogether, our results present a general solution to the cryopreservation of a broad spectrum of cellular, organismal and tissue-based biosystems.

     
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  6. Abstract

    Banking cryopreserved organs could transform transplantation into a planned procedure that more equitably reaches patients regardless of geographical and time constraints. Previous organ cryopreservation attempts have failed primarily due to ice formation, but a promising alternative is vitrification, or the rapid cooling of organs to a stable, ice-free, glass-like state. However, rewarming of vitrified organs can similarly fail due to ice crystallization if rewarming is too slow or cracking from thermal stress if rewarming is not uniform. Here we use “nanowarming,” which employs alternating magnetic fields to heat nanoparticles within the organ vasculature, to achieve both rapid and uniform warming, after which the nanoparticles are removed by perfusion. We show that vitrified kidneys can be cryogenically stored (up to 100 days) and successfully recovered by nanowarming to allow transplantation and restore life-sustaining full renal function in nephrectomized recipients in a male rat model. Scaling this technology may one day enable organ banking for improved transplantation.

     
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  7. Titanium nitride (TiN) is presented as an alternative plasmonic nanomaterial to the commonly used gold (Au) for its potential use in laser rewarming of cryopreserved biomaterials. The rewarming of vitrified, glass like state, cryopreserved biomaterials is a delicate process as potential ice formation leads to mechanical stress and cracking on a macroscale, and damage to cell walls and DNA on a microscale, ultimately leading to the destruction of the biomaterial. The use of plasmonic nanomaterials dispersed in cryoprotective agent solutions to rapidly convert optical radiation into heat, generally supplied by a focused laser beam, proposes a novel approach to overcome this difficulty. This study focuses on the performance of TiN nanoparticles (NPs), since they present high thermal stability and are inexpensive compared to Au. To uniformly warm up the nanomaterial solutions, a beam splitting laser system was developed to heat samples from multiple sides with equal beam energy distribution. In addition, uniform laser warming requires equal distribution of absorption and scattering properties in the nanomaterials. Preliminary results demonstrated higher absorption but less scattering in TiN NPs than Au nanorods (GNRs). This led to the development of TiN clusters, synthetized by nanoparticle agglomeration, to increase the scattering cross-section of the material. Overall, this study analyzed the heating rate, thermal efficiency, and heating uniformity of TiN NPs and clusters in comparison to GNRs at different solution concentrations. TiN NPs and clusters demonstrated higher heating rates and solution temperatures, while only clusters led to a significantly improved uniformity in heating. These results highlight a promising alternative plasmonic nanomaterial to rewarm cryopreserved biological systems in the future.

     
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  8. New preservation technologies may allow for organ banking similar to blood and biomaterial banking approaches. Using cryoprotective agents (CPAs), aqueous solutions with organic components such as DMSO, propylene glycol, and added salts and sugars, organs can be used to vitrify and store organs at −140 °C. When needed, these organs can be rewarmed in a rapid and uniform manner if CPAs are supplemented with iron oxide nanoparticles (IONPs) in an applied radiofrequency field. Speed and uniformity of warming are both IONP concentration and CPA suspension dependent. Here we present a coating method of small molecule phosphonate linker (PLink) and biocompatible polymer ( i.e. polyethylene glycol PEG) that tunes stability and increases the maximum allowable concentration of IONPs in CPA suspension. PLink contains a phosphonate 'anchor' for high irreversible binding to iron oxide and a carboxylic acid 'handle' for ligand attachment. PLink-PEG removes and replaces the initial coating layer of commercially available IONPs (EMG1200 (hydrophobic) and EMG308 (hydrophilic) Ferrotec, Inc., increasing colloidal stability and decreasing aggregation in both water and CPAs, (verified with dynamic light scattering) from minutes (uncoated) to up to 6 days. Heating properties of EMG1200, specific absorption rate (SAR), measured using an applied field of 360 kHz and 20 kA m −1 , increased from 20 to 180 W per g Fe with increasing PLink-PEG5000. PEG replacing the initially hydrophobic coating decreased aggregation in water and CPA, consistent with earlier studies on heating performance. Furthermore, although the size is minimized at 0.20 mol PEG per g Fe, heating is not maximized until concentrations above 0.43 mol PEG per g Fe on EMG1200. SAR on hydrophilic EMG308 was preserved at 400 W per g Fe regardless of the amount of PLink added to the core. Herein concentrations of IONP in VS55 (common CPA) significantly above our previous capabilities, sIONP at 10 mg Fe per mL, was reached, 25 mg Fe per mL of 308-PEG5000 and 60 mg Fe per mL of 1200-PEG5000, approaching stock EMG308 in water, 60 mg Fe per mL. Furthermore, at these concentrations cryopreserved Human dermal fibroblast cells were successfully nanowarmed (at applied fields described above), with higher viability as compared to convective rewarming in a water bath and heating rate close to 200 °C min −1 , 2.5 times faster than our current system. Using PLink as the coating method allowed for higher concentrations of IONPs to be successfully suspended in CPA without affecting the heating ability. Additionally, the model ligand, PEG, allowed for increased stability over time in nanowarming experiments. 
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  9. Abstract This study explores thermal design aspects of nanowarming-assisted recovery of the heart from indefinite cryogenic storage, where nanowarming is the volumetric heating effect of ferromagnetic nanoparticles excited by a radio frequency electromagnet field. This study uses computational means while focusing on the human heart and the rat heart models. The underlying nanoparticle loading characteristics are adapted from a recent, proof-of-concept experimental study. While uniformly distributed nanoparticles can lead to uniform rewarming, and thereby minimize adverse effects associated with ice crystallization and thermomechanical stress, the combined effects of heart anatomy and nanoparticle loading limitations present practical challenges which this study comes to address. Results of this study demonstrate that under such combined effects, nonuniform nanoparticles warming may lead to a subcritical rewarming rate in some parts of the domain, excessive heating in others, and increased exposure potential to cryoprotective agents (CPAs) toxicity. Nonetheless, the results of this study also demonstrate that computerized planning of the cryopreservation protocol and container design can help mitigate the associated adverse effects, with examples relating to adjusting the CPA and/or nanoparticle concentration, and selecting heart container geometry, and size. In conclusion, nanowarming may provide superior conditions for organ recovery from cryogenic storage under carefully selected conditions, which comes with an elevated complexity of protocol planning and optimization. 
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