Roger Kamm

Roger Kamm“A Neurovascular Model for Alzheimer’s Disease”


Alzheimer’s Disease constitutes a current and growing problem for our aging population, and while recent drugs, both FDA-approved and ones at various stages of clinical trial, show promise, nothing is yet available with demonstrated efficacy in treating the underlying disease.  Most current drugs in the pipeline have been developed by traditional methods using high-throughput screens and animal studies, without the benefit of relevant in vitro models.  Several approaches are now being developed, however, with both organ-on-chip and organoid-based models that show considerable potential in recapitulating human neurological disease.

Here we present a model consisting of a microvascular blood-brain barrier with barrier properties comparable to those measured in vivo, consisting of a co-culture of endothelial cells, pericytes and astrocytes.  Extensions to the current model including a neural compartment with healthy neurons and ones modified to express elevated levels of amyloid beta and a meningeal lymphatic system will be presented.  The model is evaluated based on transcriptomic and functional data and demonstrated to be useful for assessing therapeutic delivery across the blood-brain barrier, disease modeling and drug screening.


Kamm is currently the Cecil and Ida Green Distinguished Professor of Biological and Mechanical Engineering at MIT, where he has served on the faculty since 1978. Kamm has long been instrumental in developing research activities at the interface of biology and mechanics, formerly in cell and molecular mechanics, and now in engineered living systems.  Current interests are in developing models of healthy and diseased organ function using microfluidic technologies, with a focus on vascularization.

Kamm has fostered biomechanics as Chair of the US National Committee on Biomechanics (2006-2009) and of the World Council on Biomechanics (2006-2010).  He currently directs the NSF Science and Technology Center on Emergent Behaviors of Integrated Cellular Systems. He is the 2010 recipient of the ASME Lissner Medal (American Society of Mechanical Engineering) and the 2015 recipient of the Huiskes Medal (European Society of Biomechanics), both for lifetime achievements, and is the inaugural recipient of the ASME Nerem Medal for mentoring and education. He was elected to the National Academy of Medicine in 2010.

Kamm is co-founder of two companies, Cardiovascular Technologies and AIM Biotech, a manufacturer of microfluidic systems for 3D culture.