Self-on-a-Chip: A Study of Embodiment in Innovative 3D Cell-Culture Models

Conceptual_Schematic_of_a_Human-on-a-ChipA science-philosophy research project funded by the Institute for Philosophy of Scientific and Technological Practice (FAST) at University Campus Bio-Medico, Rome.

Start: April 2016

Duration: 1+1 years
Cells-on-chip are in vitro models of biological microenvironments that combine co-culture protocols and microfluidic technologies: they consist in interconnected compartments linked through a microfluidic circulatory system. They allow a high degree of control over the experimental parameters, and the use of modern microscopy.

The University Campus Bio-Medico hosts an interdisciplinary consortium working on cell chips for several research projects. The consortium is formed by:

The experimental part of the project will build an on-chip model of tumor interaction with different immune cell populations.

This innovative experimental model raises issues of several kinds:

  • Technical and methodological
  • Theoretical
  • Epistemological
  • Philosophical

On these questions, the scientific units will collaborate with a Unit of Philosophy of Scientific and Technological Practice and Philosophy of Biology composed by:

In summary, the project will determine the quality of the new model as a proof of concept not only for the study of cancer and tissue organization, but also for the consideration of cell chips as dynamic embodied selves (“selves-on-chips”).