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Postby 9093f55ff5b84bfe928e4d8938c182d7 » Thu Sep 13, 2018 5:50 pm

Hello, so I'm conducting a science project where I am going to need to build an artificial Liver. My project questions are how long it can last outside of the human body/ a container I'm building, for temp, etc. and how long/much it can filter through for. My science fair topic Idea is due tomorrow and I'm so stuck please help!!

I have a few questions,

1. how do I build an artificial liver? (I tried looking online and in medical books but couldn't find anything!!)

2. Whats the difference between an artificial and bioartificial liver?

3.would I be better off building a different artificial organ?

I'm very interested in the human body and how things work so If you do think I should do a different project please feel free to give me Ideas!!

Thank you!


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Joined: Fri Feb 01, 2013 7:00 am
Occupation: Retired molecular biologist, university researcher and teacher


Postby SciB » Sat Sep 15, 2018 8:08 am

Hello and welcome to Scibuddies. We'll try to give you some good advice on your project interests. 'Building' an artificial liver would be a pretty tough job because the liver is a complicated organ that does a lot of important things in the body. The body's cells are exposed to a lot of chemicals and many of these can be harmful if they hang around too long so it is the liver's job to chemically degrade them so they can be safely excreted.

In addition to being the body's detox engine, the liver also acts as a storage depot for glycogen, a sort of sugar that is kept in readiness for when you need some extra blood sugar (if you were running a marathon, for example). As if that weren't enough for one organ, the liver also produces chemicals called bile salts that help in digestion to break down proteins, acts as the recycling plant for old, worn-out blood cells and works hard in protein metabolism to convert ammonia to urea which is eliminated in urine.

So, as you can see, building a working mechanical liver would be a nearly impossible engineering task. Biologically speaking, however, it can be done. Liver cells will regrow on their own given the right conditions and liver transplants are fairly routine.

Designing a project to study human organs is difficult because most research involves cell culture in a lab that requires a lot of expensive equipment and supplies. While you could do this if you have access to a university research facility, most high school students do not have such a chance.

What I would suggest is that you use Scibuddies' project selector module (https://www.sciencebuddies.org/science- ... ject-ideas) and see if you can narrow down your interests to a few topics so we can advise you on something that you can make a project of without breaking the bank or requiring a university.

Think about this some more and post again and we will try to steer you into a project that is interesting, useful and doable.

Good luck!


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