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Hasitha Senevirathne

Biomedical Engineering

Year of study:


Liver-on-a-chip: A Microfluidic Platform for Human Liver Slice Culture


Cancers of the liver have extremely low patient survival rates and result in more than 800,000 deaths annually. Part of the problem is the complex interaction of anti-cancer drugs with the liver’s natural role in drug metabolism and the patient’s immune system. As such, each cancer requires a precisely crafted treatment strategy.
Traditionally, precision medicine has been associated with expensive equipment, highly trained staff, and specialised laboratories. Biopsies from the patient are typically sent to a genomics facility for testing; the results of which can be used to predict which drugs would be most likely to kill the cancerous cells while minimising harm to the healthy ones. However, this strategy has been proven ineffective in most patients, due to the development of drug resistance by tumour cells. As a result, many experts now believe that drug tests directly on the patient’s tissue should be used to complement genomic analysis.
Microfluidics is a technology which allows accurate control of fluid flow on the microlitre scale. This presentation will outline the development of a microfluidic system designed to maintain human liver slices in culture over multiple days. Once fully developed, the so-called ‘liver-on-a-chip' could enable clinicians to perform on-demand drug tests directly on patient samples, allowing them to optimise their treatment plans accordingly. In the future, such platforms could pave the way for a new generation of personalised drug-testing tools, bridging the gap between the hospital and the laboratory.


Hasitha is a final year MEng Biomedical Engineering student at the University of Glasgow. Born in Sri Lanka and raised in Qatar, his passion for science started in high school, where he participated in various student research competitions and projects. At university, Hasitha decided to study biomedical engineering to explore his interest in developing new technology to improve healthcare. He has supported several biomedical initiatives at UofG including Handprints e-NABLE Scotland, GUBMES and SensUs. Recently, Hasitha completed a 6-month placement at the Department of Biosystems Science and Engineering (D-BSSE) of ETH Zürich in Basel, Switzerland for his master’s project. After graduation, he looks forward to applying his knowledge and skills in a research career within the field of tissue engineering and regenerative medicine.

Stemming from his background in debating and model united nations, Hasitha is also a firm believer in the importance of science communication as a driving-force for positive change in the world. This led him to apply for Let’s Talk About [X] 2024.

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