Woojung Shin Receives IFER Graduate Student Fellowship

Woojung Shin

The International Foundation for Ethical Research (IFER) has awarded Woojung Shin, a graduate student working in with Professor Hyun Jung Kimin the Biomimetic Microengineering Lab, the IFER Graduate Student Fellowship in Alternatives in Scientific Research.

Shin’s project is titled, “Gut inflammation-on-a-chip for replacing Animal Models." She is studying how microengineered human gut models inhabited by living gut bacteria, the so called, “gut microbiome," can be used to replace animal colitis models that have been conventionally used in research. She uses the same toxic chemical (dextran sulfate sodium, or DSS) that would be used to induce colitis in a mouse, but is able to use human intestine cells, gut microbiome, and human immune cells through the gut-on-a-chip technology.

There’s a large discrepancy between the pathophysiology and drug response of mouse and human studies. The memory stick-sized microfluidic chip system can be more effective because it can easily decouple the organ complexity and researchers can systematically manipulate influencing factors.