DeLIVER: Organ-on-chip combined with super-resolution microscope to study fenestrations in endothelial cells of liver sinusoids

The cleaning and metabolic activities of the liver are ensured by the combined activity of both parenchymal and non-parenchymal cells, such as liver sinusoidal endothelial cells.


If hepatocytes have been deeply studied, the role of non-parenchymal cells and their interaction with hepatocytes are still not well documented.

Specifically, the endothelial cells of liver sinusoids are responsible for blood clearance and the endothelial transport is ensured by nanosized pores called fenestrations. Their small size (50-200 nm) and the fact they are dynamic structures hinder their characterization in living cells by currently available microscopy techniques.

It is thus desirable to design functional engineered in vitro models to deeply investigate the function and dynamics of the fenestrations of liver sinusoids to fully understand liver pathophysiology.

This issue will be addressed in this project by the development a novel high-speed super resolution microscope capable of imaging the evolution of fenestrations over time and space. This innovative microscopy technique uses periodic interference light patterns to pass the diffraction limit of light, thus imaging nanometric structures.


Based on its expertise in organ-on-chip devices and flow control systems, Elvesys will develop a new chip design for 3D microfluidic cultivation and cell manipulation meeting this new microscope’s requirements. This organ-on-chip will provide a powerful tool to study the fenestrations’ response to several stimuli (drugs, molecules, metabolites, rapidly changing flow conditions…) and highlight the differences between healthy and unhealthy endothelial cells.

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 MSCA-ITN under grant agreement No 766181 (DeLIVER project).



Alessandra Dellaquila

PhD Candidate

  • Research associate (Institute of Science and Technology for Ceramics, Italy)
  • Master of Science in Biomedical Engineering (Politecnico di Torino, Italy)

AREAS OF EXPERTISE: Biomedical engineering, biomechanics, data analysis, microfluidics


Guilhem Velvé Casquillas

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