Singapore-MIT Alliance for Research & Technology

BioSystems and Micromechanics (BioSyM) Inter-Disciplinary Research Group

  • BioSyM brings together a multidisciplinary team of faculties and researchers from MIT and the Universities and Research Institutes of Singapore. Our research deals with the development of new technologies to address critical medical and biological questions applicable to a variety of diseases. We aim to provide novel solutions to the healthcare industry and to the broader research infrastructure in Singapore.

  • The guiding tenet of BioSyM is that accelerated progress in biology and medicine will critically depend upon the development of modern analytical methods and tools that provide a deep understanding of the interactions between mechanics and biology at multiple length scales – from molecules to cells to tissues – that impact maintenance or disruption of human health.

BioSyM Highlights

Some highlights from BioSyM's recent publications "Mechanical Strain effects on early stages of Oligodendrocyte differentiation", "Role of Monocytes in T-Cell Immunotherapy" and a protocol paper on "Expansion of patient derived CTCs from liquid biopsies".
Mechanical Strain Alters Cellular and Nuclear Dynamics at Early Stages of Oligodendrocyte Differentiation”Frontiers in Cellular Neuroscience, Vol. 12, March 2018

Effect of strain on cellular and nuclear dynamics of differentiating Oligodendrocyte Progenitor Cells (OPCs). OPCs induced simultaneously by chemical cues and mechanical strain exhibit significantly lower cell-migration and nuclear-fluctuations (at 24 h post-induction) than cells induced by chemical cues alone.

Charaterizing the role of monocytes in T-Cell Cancer Immunotherapy Using a 3D Microfluidic Model, Frontiers in Immunology, Vol 9, March 2018

(A) A 3D multicellular tumor microenvironment microfluidic model consisting of a middle hydrogel channel (2) flanked by two media channels (1, 3) for the mechanistic study of the effect of monocytes on T cell receptor-redirected T cell (TCR T cell) killing of tumor cell aggregates. Human monocytes were insertedtogether with target HepG2-preS1-GFP cell aggregates in collagen gel in the central hydrogel region (2), while hepatitis B virus (HBV)-specific TCR T cells were added into one fluidic channel (1) to mimic the intrahepatic carcinoma environment. (B) Representative confocal image of a target cell aggregate (in green) surrounded by monocytes (in blue) and HBV-specific TCR T cells (in white), in which the presence of dead target cells is DRAQ7+ (in red). Target cell death is quantified as shown based on the DRAQ7+ volumetric portion in the total volume of each GFP-labeled aggregate.

Expansion of patient-derived circulating tumor cells from liquid biopsies using a CTC microfluidic culture device, Nature Protocols, 13, 34 (2018)

Steps 72–82: Schematic illustration and working principle of CTC cluster formation. (a) Blood samples are obtained by liquid biopsy and lysed to remove RBCs. Nucleated cells are obtained for seeding. (b) Operating principle of CTC cluster formation using specialized tapered microwell structures. In a sample with cluster formation (left), a single cluster forms consistently in each microwell. This occurs through the interaction of patient-derived blood cells (white) with CTCs (green/orange) to promote CTC cluster formation. In negative samples (right), clusters do not form.


BioSyM Post-Doc Dr.Khoo Bee Luan is now in the honorable list of 2018’s 10 ‘Innovators Under 35 Asia’

About Khoo Bee Luan

Dr Khoo Bee Luan is a biomedical scientist focused on innovating microfluidic devices for clinical utility. She leads a research team under the Young Investigator grant award by NMRC to utilise a microfluidic device for cancer management and evaluation, termed as the circulating tumour cell (CTC) Cluster Assay. The CTC Cluster Assay aims to mimic parts of the tumour microenvironment in vitro by integrating a confined fluidic niche using microwells with hypoxia and tumour-associated immune cells. She has also developed microfluidic biochips for isolation of primary cancer cells, diseased blood cells or malaria-infected cells with relevance to early disease detection.







......More BioSyM Highlights









BioSyM Seminar Series 2018

Systems Analysis of Neuroinflammation in Alzheimer's Disease and Traumatic Brain Injury

Dr.Levi Wood

(Asst.Prof., Georgia Institute of Technology, USA)

9/July/2018, Monday @ 3 - 4 pm


Recent Publications

  1. Mechanical Strain Alters Cellular and Nuclear Dynamics at Early Stages of Oligodendrocyte Differentiation”Frontiers in Cellular Neuroscience
  2. Charaterizing the role of monocytes in T-Cell Cancer Immunotherapy Usinga 3D Microfluidic Model, Frontiers in Immunology
  3. "White Light-Emitting Multistimuli-Responsive Hydrogels with Lanthanides and Carbon Dots", ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces
  4. "Microfluidics for Fast and Frugal Diagnosis of Malaria, Sepsis, and HIV/AIDS ", Frugal Innovation in Bioengineering for the Detection of Infectious Diseases
  5. Computational Modeling of 3D Extra Cellular Matrix (ECM)-rigidity sensing to guide directed cell migration, PNAS
  6. "Expansion of patient-derived circulating tumor cells from liquid biopsies using a CTC microfluidic culture device" NATURE PROTOCOLS
  7. "Microdevices for Non-Invasive Detection of Bladder Cancer", Chemosensors
  8. Probing eukaryotic cell mechanics via mesoscopic simulations PLOS Computational Biology

    ...................Publications (Full List)

Our people

Meet the Principal Investigators, Collaborators, researchers, students and staff of SMART-BioSyM

Our research

Read about our research thrusts/projects, lab facilities and publications