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A team of researchers from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and NC State University has received a $5.3 million, five-year Transformative Research (R01) Award from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to create fully functioning versions of the human gut that fit on a chip the size of a dime. The team includes Joint BME core faculty Nancy Allbritton, MD, PhD, and Shawn Gomez, EngScD; as well as BME affiliates Scott Bultman, PhD, and Scott Magness, PhD. Their project received one of four awards within the High Risk, High Reward Research program, and is part of the NIH Common Fund. The Transformative Research Award promotes interdisciplinary approaches, and is open to investigators proposing research that could potentially change or challenge existing paradigms. The proposal, entitled “Development of Human Intestinal Simulacra,” aims to develop a state-of-the-art microfabricated platform to create a functional, in vitro replica, i.e. simulacrum, of the human colonic epithelium and its associated microbiome. This new technology will be used to perform novel studies and hypothesis testing of intestinal physiology that cannot currently be performed. For more information please see the UNC press release and the NIH press release. Congratulations to Drs. Allbritton, Magness, Gomez, and Bultman!

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