Cells are the basic unit of a living body. We are made of trillions of cells that have different roles in the whole human organism. They are all capable of growth, metabolism, and can respond to any stimulation. The cells in our body communicate with each other to react to any message. However, the communication process between the cells is often complex to be understood even by scientists because of the crowding amount and functional methods. Sudden pangs of anxieties are also believed to be the conversation between the cells in our gut and brain, says assistant professor of Chemical Engineering, Abigail Koppes at Northeastern University.
Abigail Koppes and her team have worked together to establish the technology to differentiate the characters of the cells and their responses in different situations and environments. These environments are mainly based on a person’s diet and microbiome, also representing the donor’s age, sex, and other health conditions. The team has created a handheld plastic chip that consists of the smooth muscle cells which help in digestion and sends responses to the neurons. In this way, the assumptions about medical conditions or treatments collected from different samples could be understood better.
The team of Abigail Koppes which included Ph.D. students Adam Bindas, Jessica Snyder, and Jon Soucy, and fellow assistant Chemical Engineering professor Ryan Koppes first attempted to simplify the process by separating the cells from the crowd of the nervous system because the cells are systematised to work automatically without our conscious help. In this context, Koppes said that “We don’t really actively think about them happening, but these signals are going back and forth all the time from our sort of ‘external’ body back to our brain”. However, she believes that these automatic responses can be overruled to discover the nuances of the interaction between the cells.
The discovery of the conversational nuances between the cells would also foolproof many treatments and therapies and provide higher assurance in the outcome of the human body. Abigail’s research is not far-off reality but a matter of viable implementation.