About the Lab

When Alexander Revzin, Ph.D., began his career as a faculty member in the Department of Biomedical Engineering at the University of California in Davis in 2004, he founded a lab focusing on developing novel microsystems for cell cultivation and analysis. Dr. Revzin relocated the lab to Mayo Clinic in the fall of 2016 and it was renamed the Cellular Microsystems and Biosensors Laboratory.

Historically, the research interests of the lab have been in controlling the cellular microenvironment using biomaterials, micropatterned surfaces or microfluidic devices and detecting changes in cellular function using miniature biosensors integrated into a culture system. More recent investigation in the laboratory involves organs-on-chip — microfluidic culture systems that attempt to recapitulate cellular complexity and interactions found in vivo.

Researchers in the lab are interested in creating liver-on-chip devices to study paracrine signals being exchanged between liver cell compartments during injury. The dynamics and cellular origins of secreted signals may be monitored with on-chip biosensors. The lab is also interested in developing culture systems for stem cell maintenance and differentiation. Previous research by Dr. Revzin involved solid-phase presentation of inductive signals whereby growth factors driving stem cell differentiation are immobilized on the culture surfaces.

Lab researchers have also been interested in co-cultures of stem cells and adult cells to drive differentiation of the former via paracrine signals originating from the latter. More recently the lab has begun employing microfluidic or low-volume culture systems for stem cell cultivation. These systems allow researchers to harness endogenous and autocrine signals produced by stem cells and may minimize consumption of expensive exogenous growth factors typically used in stem cell cultivation protocols.

A constant theme for Dr. Revzin's laboratory for the past 13 years has been the development of biosensors for local and continuous monitoring of cell activity. Researchers have produced biosensors for detecting inflammatory cytokines, oxidative stress, energy metabolites and proteases.

The lab is continuing to expand the menu of biomolecules that may be detected using such biosensors. Importantly, the utility of biosensors is not limited to the laboratory setting and may be extended to clinical diagnostics or point-of-care testing. Of particular interest is the detection of inflammatory cytokines for point-of-care diagnosis of infectious diseases.