Open-Source System for Real-Time Functional Assessment of In Vitro Filtration Barriers

Tess K. Fallon, Merve Zuvin, Alan D. Stern, Nanditha Anandakrishnan, Ilse S. Daehn, Evren U. Azeloglu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The integrity of the barrier between blood and the selective filtrate of solutes is important for homeostasis and its disruption contributes to many diseases. Microphysiological systems that incorporate synthetic or natural membranes with human cells can mimic biological filtration barriers, such as the glomerular filtration barrier in the kidney, and they can readily be used to study cellular filtration processes as well as drug effects and interactions. We present an affordable, open-source platform for the real-time monitoring of functional filtration status in engineered microphysiological systems. Using readily available components, our assay can linearly detect real-time concentrations of two target molecules, FITC-labeled inulin and Texas Red-labeled human-serum albumin, within clinically relevant ranges, and it can be easily modified for different target molecules of varying sizes and tags. We demonstrate the platform’s ability to determine the concentration of our target molecules automatically and consistently. We show through an acellular context that the platform enables real-time tracking of size-dependent diffusion with minimal fluid volume loss and without manual extraction of media, making it suitable for continuous operational monitoring of filtration status in microphysiological system applications. The platform’s affordability and integrability with microphysiological systems make it ideal for many precision medicine applications, including evaluation of drug nephrotoxicity and other forms of drug discovery.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)327-341
Number of pages15
JournalAnnals of Biomedical Engineering
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2024


  • Fluorescence sensor
  • Functional assay
  • Glomerulus
  • Kidney-on-chip
  • Microfluidics
  • Open science
  • Organ-on-chip


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