in vitro “human” model: Body on a Chip

Developing new medicines is a complex and time-consuming process, often taking over a decade and costing upwards of 100 billion yen. Traditional pre-clinical trials using cell-based assays and animal tests have limitations in predicting drug efficacy and toxicity, emphasizing the need for alternative methods.

Human pluripotent stem cells (hPSCs) offer a promising solution, as they can generate various human cell types from a single source. With their unlimited self-renewal and differentiation capabilities, hPSCs are ideal for drug discovery, screening, and toxicological testing. As a result, many pharmaceutical companies are exploring their use in developing a “Body on a Chip.”

My research aims to create a “Body on a Chip” by integrating multiple hPSC-derived tissue cells into a single microfluidic device. This system will mimic human physiology by interconnecting 3D microtissues with microfluidic flow channels, enabling the monitoring of metabolic activities across different tissues. Ultimately, this project seeks to understand human body construction by replicating life processes within a microfluidic device.

To advance the development of the “Body on a Chip,” I propose an interdisciplinary approach combining micro/nanotechnology and materials science to create artificial cellular microenvironments for studying cellular functions. This innovative platform has the potential to revolutionize drug development and significantly reduce the time and cost associated with bringing new medicines to market.

Representative Publications:

J. Yang, Y. Hirai, K. Iida, S. Ito, M. Trumm, S. Terada, R. Sakai, T. Tsuchiya, O. Tabata, K. KameiIntegrated-gut-liver-on-a-chip platform as an in vitro human model of non-alcoholic fatty liver diseaseCommun. Biol.6(1)3102023
R. Abdalkader, K. KameiMulti-corneal barriers-on-a-chip to recapitulate eye blinking shear stress forcesLab Chip15(2)4277-42852020
K. Kamei, M. Yoshioka, S. Terada, Y. Tokunaga, Y. ChenThree-dimensional cultured liver-on-a-Chip with mature hepatocyte-like cells derived from human pluripotent stem cellsBiomed. Microdev.21(3)732019
K. Kamei,* Y. Kato, Y. Hirai,* S. Ito, J. Satoh, A. Oka, T. Tsuchiya, Y. Chen and O. TabataIntegrated Heart/Cancer on a chip to reproduce the side effects of anti-cancer drug in vitroRSC Advances736777-367862017


  • Prof. Tabata (Dept. of Engineering, Kyoto University)
  • Dr. Hirai (Lecturer, Dept. of Engineering, Kyoto University)