Sensor integrated microfluidic platform for studying the effects of toxicological compounds on the human respiratory system project

The researchers work on development of microfluidic platforms (3D platforms with sub-millimeter scale channels) and apply them for growing human cells in dynamic and laboratory conditions for emulating certain aspects of a human organ “in-chip”. Such 3D platforms called “organ-on-a-chip” platforms allow for emulating certain aspects of a human organ “in-chip” and testing pharmaceutical compounds through them. Organ-on-a-chip platforms have great potential in shortening drug development processes and reducing the number of animals used in drug testing in the future.

Kulsharova, G. and Kurmangaliyeva, A., 2021. Liver microphysiological platforms for drug metabolism applications. Cell Proliferation, p.e13099.

The team is very multidisciplinary and is composed of engineers, biologists, and a medical doctor:
PI – Dr. Gulsim Kulsharova,
RAs: Dr. Perizat Kanabekova (alumni of NU and NUSOM), Galiya Toxeitova
MS student: Elvira Darbayeva,
Undergraduate SEDS students: Dinmukhamed Kali, Sanzhar Shakarim, Bereke Dauletkanov, Tolkyn Assylbekova
Undergraduate SSH student: Adina Kadyrova

The project started in April 2021, but Dr. Gulsim Kulsharova has been working on development of this idea for 1 year now thanks to the previously awarded NU SEDS Small grant.


Currently the researchers set up a laboratory under the Advanced Functional Materials and Devices cluster headed by Prof. Nuraje in autumn of 2020. Additionally, Dr. Gulsim Kulsharova got great help from Core Facility in the face of Dr. Aidos Baumuratov who helped us to set up a biological cabinet, which is essential for work with cell culture.


Since the beginning of 2021 the team has been actively working on design, fabrication of microfluidic devices, and developing microphysiological platforms seeded with human liver and lung cells.
As an outcome, the researchers group has published two extended abstracts as a proceeding from a prominent international conference MicroTAS 2021, participated in an ABC incubation competition organised by NURIS cluster and was awarded second place from Shell LiveWire program in the competition. Additionally, from two articles of the group have been published in high-impact factor journals, one of which was selected as a cover article of Cell Proliferation journal.

Further on, the researchers will be working on development of oxygen sensors for integration into microfluidic platforms. Additionally, we will be focusing on development of 3D microfluidic chips for emulating lung alveoli-capillary membranes in laboratory conditions, which will allow us to study the influence of toxic compounds in air on lung models. More experiments and many trials are essential for the success of the work. However, our group members are determined for a big success in achieving our goal.

[1] Kulsharova, G., Kurmangaliyeva, A., Darbayeva, E., Rojas-Solórzano, L. and Toxeitova, G., 2021. Development of a Hybrid Polymer-Based Microfluidic Platform for Culturing Hepatocytes towards Liver-on-a-Chip Applications. Polymers, 13(19), p.3215.
[2] Kulsharova, G. and Kurmangaliyeva, A., 2021. Liver microphysiological platforms for drug metabolism applications. Cell Proliferation, p.e13099.