I-Corps: Artificial Tissue Scaffolds and Cell Cultures Interlaced with Vasculature-like Micro-Channels

Project: Research project

Project Details


The broader impact/commercial potential of this I-Corps project is a novel engineered tissue culturing platform that will accelerate the translation of regenerative medicine technologies to the clinical market. According to the U.S. Dept. of Health & Human Services, only 10% of the 115k people in the U.S needed a lifesaving organ transplant in 2018 received it. A major obstacle to producing viable artificial tissues is product variability. The proposed technology overcomes that limitation by enabling non-disruptive control over the cell behavior at any location within the living artificial tissues as they are being cultured. Additionally, it allows for nondestructive analysis of the cell behavior, which will impact the markets where the cultures are used for things like production of biological molecules, toxicity and pharmaceutical testing, etc., by lowering experiment costs relative to the conventional (typically sacrificial) analysis. Lastly, the fact that the culturing platform is automated solves another major logistical hurdle to the adoption of such technologies, by allowing companies to provide computer codes to hospital staff instead of having to teach them custom culturing protocols for each new product. This I-Corps project will allow for better understanding of how the proposed cell culturing technology can offer solutions to the clinical market; while also providing technological insight to members of the tissue engineering industry, and opportunities for significant improvements to their existing culturing systems and practices. The proposed technology is a tissue engineering scaffold interlaced with vascular-like microchannels, which help to overcome major bottlenecks limiting the conventional biomanufacturing approaches. Additionally, it offers multiple benefits to other market segments that involve cell culturing. For example, the technology has been demonstrated to enable new discoveries by allowing researchers to perform localized collections of mini cell biopsies and effluent for ex-situ analysis; additive and subtractive cell operations in living cell cultures, tissue patterning and overgrowth removal; establishing dynamic drug gradients and custom delivery protocols; overcoming size-limitations by nourishing cells deep within large cultures and removing metabolic waste from those regions.This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.
Effective start/end date2/1/201/31/22


  • National Science Foundation: $50,000.00


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