Institut für Mikrostrukturtechnik
Karlsruher Institut für Technologie (KIT)
Scientific Portrait

What we are working upon

In close cooperation with various scientific and industrial partners, we are developing new chip systems for biological applications (so called BioMEMS) components that can be used in various areas of biomedicine, biology and biotechnology. In addition to nanostructured surfaces for dental implants, we work on polymer-based microfluidic systems for point-of-care diagnostics and organ-on-chip systems.

Based on this work, we have developed a microfluidic bioreactor in which plant cells can be cultivated together with our partners from KIT Botanical Institute as part of a BMBF-funded cooperation project. Its modular structure allows different cell types to be linked by a common metabolic flow, thus generating new substances or increasing efficiency.
microfluidic bioreactor

The microfluidic bioreactor consists of two chambers separated by a porous polymer membrane permeable to metabolites and nutrients. The plant cells are cultivated in the upper chamber and the supply current flows through the lower chamber, which can be used to connect several modules.

Our contribution for DialogProTec

Within the framework of the DialogProTec project, the chemical communication between fungal and plant cells is to be investigated. The idea is to modify the microfluidic bioreactor in such a way that fungal cells can also be cultivated in order to combine fungal and plant cell modules in a common metabolic flow. A further step is the integration of a third chamber so that both cell types can be cultivated within one bioreactor.
The IMT focuses on the production of these bioreactors from polymeric materials. The housing components are molded by hot embossing or injection molding and then joined together with the porous membrane by ultrasonic welding or adhesive bonding.

Project-relevant publications

Finkbeiner, T.; Soergel, H. L.; Koschitzky, M. P.; Ahrens, R.; Guber, A. E. (2019) Ultrasonic welding for the rapid integration of fluidic connectors into microfluidic chips. Journal of micromechanics and microengineering, 29 (6), Article no: 065011. doi:10.1088/1361-6439/ab10d2

Rajabi, T.; Finkbeiner, T.; Garschagen, R.; Ahrens, R.; Guber, A.E. (2018) Introduction of Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET) enabling the fabrication of in vitro models for medical or pharmaceutical applications; Proceedings of the 22nd International Conference of miniaturized Systems for Chemistry and Life Sciences , p. 2373-4

Maisch, J.; Kreppenhofer, K.; Büchler, S.; Merle, C.; Sobich, S.; Görling, B.; Luy, B.; Ahrens, R.; Guber, A. E.; Nick, P. (2016) Time-resolved NMR metabolomics of plant cells based on a microfluidic chip.. Journal of plant physiology, 200, 28–34 (


Prof. Dr. Andreas Guber
Prof. Dr. Andreas Guber,
Head of the subproject
Dr. Ralf Ahrens
Dr. Ralf Ahrens,
scientific supervision
Leona Schmidt-Speicher
Leona Schmidt-Speicher,
PhD student

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