BioMeld Project Meeting

The BioMeld Workshop, held on 10 July as part of the Living Machines 2023 conference, provided a platform for the consortium members to convene beforehand and engage in discussions about the progress of the project.

Project coordinator Igor Balaž commenced the meeting by delivering introductory remarks.

Following that, Antisthenis Tsompanas held the first presentation from UWE Bristol and provided an update on the progress of 3D modeling and morphology evolution of biohybrid robots.

Next, Igor Balaž took the floor again to present two research topics: (i) graph-based technique for identifying controllable elements within complex systems and (ii) fine-grained physical simulations of the influence of blood flow on catheter controllability.

Afterwards, Leonardo Ricotti and Lorenzo Vannozzi from SSSA addressed the main issues in catheter design, which opened a fruitful discussion on numerous topics important for the application of such biohybrid catheters in a real clinical setting, particularly in drug delivery. Some of the topics that were covered included the acceptable diameter and length of the catheter tip, elasticity, selection of materials, controllability, etc.

Following the aforementioned points, Lance Leverette presented the current commercial landscape of medical catheters and outlined the main barriers to market entry. 

Stefano Lai from UNICA focused on the controllability of the catheter. In his presentation, he outlined the design, fabrication, and calibration steps necessary for producing a flexible electronic platform and how the design and testing of the electronic control module will be performed.

Judith Fuentes from IBEC-CERCA then outlined possible approaches to the fabrication of muscle-based actuators. She presented several candidate designs (circular molds, infinity- and negative infinity-shaped molds) and explained preliminary results and the next planned steps. Tasks on the integration of the bioreactor chamber were presented by Elena Martinez, Jordi Comelles, and Patricia Zoio.

At the end of the meeting, Igor Balaž highlighted upcoming deliverables, and all participants discussed ongoing challenges and the coordination steps between research groups, necessary for establishing a roadmap for future tasks.