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BDL at Dutch Design Week 2022

BDL at Dutch Design Week 2022

November 01, 2022

This year we collaborate with Dutch designer Piet Hein Eek to demonstrate atherosclerosis-on-chip.  Dutch Design week is held between 22-30 October 2022.

How does “design” change its meaning in functional (or a word that Piet prefers) and scientific perspectives?

Through our journey to bring different designers collaborating, we noticed that the word “design” can bear different meanings. Therefore, we share what we found out: Piet (PHE) and Burcu (Eindhoven University of Technology, Biomedical Engineering Department) joined forces to approach functional design from different perspectives. While Piet is good at designing macro-scale objects that find use in households, Burcu designs micro-scale objects for research purposes.  

For Piet, design is a word to create a functional product that he can foresee its use, while for Burcu design is a word to create a functional platform to explore the unforeseen, mostly for the understanding of medical problems.

Hereby, Piet and Burcu present a micron-scale construct made using the logo of Piet Hein Eek (PHE). This design mimics the branching veins in the body to study atherosclerosis, a health-related disorder resulting in clogged veins, which require the placement of stents. The logo of PHE appeared as an easy-to-fabricate and -operate design, therefore it was interesting to choose it to model the blood flow velocity in veins.

Through simulations, we found that the branching sides having a slower flow rate when compared to the main channels. Through experiments, real cells reacted to the flow by accumulating in low-flow-rate regions and migrating in high-flow rate regions. Our observation is in accordance with medical findings that regions with more cell accumulation were predicted to be more prone to atherosclerosis. Therefore, we can use this model to study the biology of this disease further and propose new treatment strategies!