The activity of the Bioengineering Facility is focused on advanced technologies for the analysis of biological fluids based on rheo-optical and interfacial properties. As an example of the former, the Facility is equipped with ektacytometry instrumentation to measure the deformability of cells under the effect of a mechanical stress induced by an external flow. Ektacytometry is used as a diagnostic tool for pathologies characterized by an altered erythrocyte deformability as the osmolarity of the suspending medium is varied. Viscosity and elasticity measurements of biological fluids, such as whole blood, plasma, mucus and seminal fluid, are also carried out. The facility is equipped for the use of microfluidic technologies, which allow the manipulation of minute quantities of biological samples as compared to conventional methods. As an example of interfacial properties, the adsorption of specific substances on different substrata can be characterized and their possible biocompatibility can be assessed. The facility can also provide support for the development of biomedical devices and components.
The services available at the facility include ektacytometry measurements for blood sample analysis, both for diagnostics and research applications, access to a clean room, evaluation of interactions between blood and artificial or natural substrata, and rheo-optical tests on biological fluids. The tests on blood samples can be also complemented by measurements of haematological parameters by a biochemical analyzer, such as albumin and electrolyte concentration. In addition to providing diagnostic and research services, the facility is open to collaborations with companies and spin-offs for the development and validation of biomedical technologies.