Microdevice Enabling Long-Term in Vitro Studies of Biofabricated Constructs; The Role of Psychological Wellness in Type 1 Diabetes Management

Burnside, Alexandra, School of Engineering and Applied Science, University of Virginia
Seabrook, Bryn, EN-Engineering and Society, University of Virginia
Highley, Chris, EN-Biomed Engr Dept, University of Virginia

The technical project achieved the goal of designing, fabricating, and iterating upon a microfluidic device designed to contain and stabilize granular hydrogels for long term in vitro cell culture. Granular hydrogels are an important area of research in tissue engineering and disease modeling because they allow for increased cell mobility and reagent exchange, and features such as biological fibers can be easily printed into these granular particles. My partner, Joshua Goedert, and I designed and fabricated various devices with different key features, such as perfusion channels, and performed differing tests to validate their usability. Additionally, we designed and fabricated a photomask to fit on top of one of our device designs, so that we can selectively crosslink hydrogel to form varying features. Our work on this project has been important to advancing the study of granular hydrogels and the use of microdevices to culture cells and model complex tissue structures.
The research paper examines the connection between mental well-being and Type 1 Diabetes management, particularly at the interface of health care and standards of treatment and the physical and emotional burden of disease management. The term “diabetes distress” refers to the kind of burnout that T1D patients experience as a result of the demanding nature of disease management, and this distress often causes negative disease outcomes. The question to be answered in this paper is: How does the psychological condition of Type 1 Diabetes patients impact their ability to manage the disease, and how can standard treatment plans change to take this connection into account and improve disease management. The answer to this question is formulated through discourse analysis of the topics of diabetes distress, the current diabetes care, and other relevant subjects. Analysis is performed using the Wicked Problem framework common in the field of STS. By answering this research question, improvements can be made to the standard of medical care for those with diabetes, improving quality of life and decreasing the chances of serious disease complications by promoting the importance of mental health.

BS (Bachelor of Science)
diabetes, microdevice, hydrogel, mental health

School of Engineering and Applied Science
Bachelor of Science in Biomedical Engineering
Technical Advisor: Chris Highley
STS Advisor: Bryn Seabrook
Technical Team Members: Joshua Goedert

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