Frequently Asked Questions


Activation

Why did my ER-1 change color?

It's normal for ER-1 to change color to a darker red after UV activation.

Where can I find Emulate's official protocols?

Our full list official protocols is available here.

Can I activate with my own protocol?

Chip activation using our protocol is essential to experimental success. The use of alternative methods is highly discouraged.

What are ER-1 and ER-2?

ER-1 is a proprietary surface activation reagent and ER-2 is a re-suspension and wash buffer.

What if I have a bubble during Organ-Chip activation?

It's important to ensure that bubbles are removed prior to beginning the UV chip activation process. If a bubble is observed, flush the channel with 200 µL of ER-2 to dislodge it. Follow troubleshooting guidelines in the appropriate Organ-Chip culture protocol.

Can I use my own UV light box?

The use of alternative UV light sources is highly discouraged. Our UV light box provides the correct wattage and wavelength of light to encourage robust chip activation.

Can I order more ER-1 and ER-2?

Yes. Please contact your dedicated Field Application Scientist or write to us at support@emulatebio.com for more information.

Is ER-1 or ER-2 toxic?

ER-1 is a respiratory irritant. Please refer to the individual safety data sheets included with your ER-1 shipment for safe handling information.

What do the reagents do?

ER-1 and ER-2 are used to activate the cell culture area of the chip and allow for even, robust extracellular matrix coating of the membrane.

Why do Organ-Chips need to be activated?

Activating Organ-Chips according to our protocols ensures that extracellular matrix proteins coat the channels of the chip properly, leading to proper cellular attachment.

Communication

Where can I find Emulate's logo?

You can find our logo, microscope images of cells in our Organ-Chips, and other visual resources on our media page.

Culturing

Can I seed more than two types of cells?

Yes! You can seed multiple cell types in the channels. Our Liver-Chip, for example, can be seeded with up to four different cell types. You can also use organoids as a cell source. For specific seeding instructions, refer to Organ-Chip seeding and culture protocols.

How many cell types can I seed in each channel?

One or several cell types can be seeded into either channel. Our Liver-Chip, for example, can be seeded with hepatocytes in the top channel and liver sinusoidal endothelial cells, stellate cells, and Kupffer cells in the bottom channel. For specific seeding instructions, refer to Organ-Chip seeding and culture protocols.

How do I change media?

The medium in a reservoir can be changed easily. Simply add fresh medium to each inlet reservoir and gently aspirate the collected medium from each outlet reservoir, or collect the medium for sample analysis.

Can I seed into both channels at the same time?

It is recommended to seed the channels sequentially, in the order that is best for the specific application. Seeding the channels at the same time could prevent cells from populating the membrane and may negatively impact the function of the Organ-Chip. For specific seeding instructions, refer to Organ-Chip seeding and culture protocols.

How often should I change my media?

The frequency at which media will need to be changed is based on both the flow rate and the lifespan of the media components. For example, a programmed flow rate of 30 µL / hour with a 3 mL reservoir volume will have a maximum run time of 100 hours. See protocol for organ-specific flow rates and recommended media handling guidelines.

What cells can I use?

For our Liver-Chip, we recommend using the qualified primary human cells that are included with our Liver Bio-Kit. For our Basic-Kit, you can use any cells that you have optimized for a specific application.

What flow rates can I use to culture my Organ-Chips?

The flow rates for each channel can be controlled independently and can be set between 15 µL and 1,000 µL / hour. Flow rates must be optimized for the cell type of interest as the flow will apply shear stress forces. Please refer to the organ-specific protocols.

How fast do I introduce cells into the chip during seeding?

Organ-Chips should be seeded at a consistent rate. It should take approximately one second to seed a channel. Refer to Organ-Chip seeding and and culture protocols.

What concentration of cells / cell density should I use to seed?

The optimal seeding density differs by cell type, but a typical starting range is between 1M and 10M cells / mL.

There are cells adhering outside of the main culture area. Is that ok?

Yes, cells will adhere to any surface coated with extra-cellular matrix proteins. Cells adhering to areas outside the main culture area will not affect study results.

When are cells ready for experimentation?

The readiness of any cell population is dependent on the cell type and function. See our protocols for more information.

How do I determine if cells in the Organ-Chip have the appropriate morphology?

Visual morphological inspection and biochemical testing can help confirm the health of a cell population in an Organ-Chip.

Should I seed the top or bottom channel first?

The seeding order will depend on the organ model and cell type. For specific seeding instructions, refer to Organ-Chip seeding and culture protocols.

How many cells do I seed?

The optimal seeding density (cells / mL) will vary by cell type and should be optimized according to the specific application. Organ-specific models have pre-optimized cell densities for seeding. Please refer to our protocols for more information.

ECM

How can I tell if ECM has successfully attached to Organ-Chip channel surfaces?

Patchy cell attachment indicates that ECM coating was unsuccessful.

Does Emulate recommend any particular extracellular matrix (ECM)?

Each model available as a Bio-Kit has a model-specific ECM recommendation. The Basic-Kit is designed to provide flexibility for scientists to use whichever ECM best fits their research needs. Please refer to the Organ-Chip culture protocols.

Does my extracellular matrix (ECM) have to be on ice?

Yes, it's recommended that ECM be prepared and always maintained on ice during use. Always handle and store according to manufacturer's instructions and refer to organ-specific protocols.

General

How do you handle my personal data?

Our privacy policy and other legal documents can be found on our legal page.

Orb

Where can I put the Orb™ Hub Module?

The Orb™ Hub Module must be placed in close proximity to the incubator that will be housing Zoë™ Culture Modules. The Orb can be placed either on the floor, on a bench top near the incubator, or on the Orb Rack.

What do I do if the Orb alarm is sounding?

On the Orb's back panel, there are three orange LEDs; determine which LED is blinking and contact your Field Application Scientist (or email support@emulatebio.com) so they can assist you with troubleshooting and ensure the Orb is operational.

If "Gas In" is the source of the issue, please double check that your lab CO2 source is still supplying ~15 psi to the Orb.

Please refer to the Orb manual for additional troubleshooting guidance.

How many Zoës does one Orb support?

One Orb can support up to four Zoës simultaneously. Up to two Zoës can be placed in an incubator.

Quantity

How many Zoës fit in an incubator?

No more than two Zoës should be used in an incubator at the same time.

How many chips and Pod™ Portable Modules come in each box?

Our Bio-Kits are available in 12-pack and 24-pack options.

How many Organ-Chips fit into a Zoë?

One Zoë can hold up to 12 Organ-Chips at a time.

Sterility

Is Zoë sterile?

Like other cell culture lab equipment, Zoë is not sterile, but the external surfaces can be cleaned using standard surface sanitizing methods. 

How do I know my Organ-Chips and Pods are sterile?

Our Organ-Chips and Pods are gamma-irradiated to ensure suitable culture conditions. They will remain sterile if they are handled according to our protocols. Do not open Organ-Chip or Pod packaging outside a BSL-2.

Stretch

Will stretching cells hurt them?

You should only apply physiologically relevant mechanical forces to Organ-Chips. Different tissues have different requirements. For example, in our Liver-Chip, the relevant mechanical force is shear stress, which is applied through flow. If you were to stretch the Liver-Chip, you would kill the cells, as this is not a relevant force in vivo. In contrast, both flow and stretch are required for optimal function of our Intestine-Chip.

For how long should I stretch cells in the Organ-Chip?

The duration of stretch is optimized for each specific organ model. Different tissues within an organ may require different mechanical forces. For example,  alveolus lung cells require continuous stretch and flow, whereas airway lung cells only require flow; stretching airway lung cells will kill them.

Do I need to apply mechanical forces to the Organ-Chip?

You should only apply physiologically relevant mechanical forces to Organ-Chips. Different tissues have different requirements. For example, in our Liver-Chip, the relevant mechanical force is shear stress, which is applied through flow. If you were to stretch the Liver-Chip, you would kill the cells, as this is not a relevant force in vivo. In contrast, both flow and stretch are required for optimal function of our Intestine-Chip.

What are the best stretch parameters for the cells?

Different tissues have different requirements. See organ-specific protocols for optimal stretch parameters.

Can I put different Organ-Chips (e.g., Liver-Chips and Lung-Chips) or chips with different cell types in the same Zoë?

Yes, but remember that all Organ-Chips in a Zoë will be exposed to the same culture conditions (i.e., flow and stretch).

Zoë Function

What do I need in my lab so that Zoë can be properly installed and used?

In order to install the Human Emulation System, a functional CO2 incubator is required, as well as a source of 100% CO2. Typically, you can use the same source that provides CO2 to the incubator.

How do I move Human Emulation System to another location?

Users are discouraged from moving the Human Emulation System, and doing so may void the warranty. If you need to move the system, please contact us at support@emulatebio.com so a member of our team can assist you.

My Pods get stuck when I try to remove a tray from Zoë. What can I do?

If you encounter difficulty removing a tray, try the following:

1. Pull out the tray and gently shift it to the right and left as you remove it.

2. Ensure that there are no stickers or other items adhered to the tops of any of the Pod lids.

Why don't the bays always activate when the activation buttons are pressed?

If the tray is not fully inserted, the bay will not activate. Please ensure that the tray is pushed all the way into Zoë.

Can I use Zoë outside an incubator?

No, Zoë must be placed inside an incubator.

How does Zoë work?

The Zoë™ Culture Module provides media flow, air, and vacuum to all installed Pods at flow rate and stretch parameters determined by the user. Zoë can run up to 12 Organ-Chips at the same time. More information about Zoë and the rest of the Human Emulation System can be found in our help articles.

Are there any periodic maintenance activities that I should perform?

Users should clean the Zoë exterior and trays with 70% ethanol prior to each use and clean the Orb exterior with 70% ethanol periodically. Please see full care instructions for the Zoë and Orb.

What do I need to do in preparation for Human Emulation System installation?

You will need a fully functional CO2 incubator, as well as a 100% CO2 source that can be used to supply the Orb.

Zoë UI

How do I program stretch on Zoë?

Stretch is determined by two settings: percentage and frequency. Percentage (0%–12%) relates to lateral stretch of the membrane. Frequency (0.0Hz–0.4Hz) determines how many times the chip membrane will stretch per second. For example, a setting of 0.25Hz will create one full stretch cycle every four seconds. If you set a value of 0Hz, your chip will remain in a stretched state. For more information, please refer to our protocols.

What is the Regulate cycle?

The Regulate cycle stabilizes the fluidics of the Organ-Chips and Pods and removes small bubbles.

How do I know which version of software is on my Zoë ?

The software version is displayed on the Zoë user interface, below the Emulate logo, when Zoë first starts up.

How do I know what Pod ID to use?

The Pod ID is set by Emulate during installation. Do not change this value unless directed by one of our experts.