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BME faculty member Dr. Anne Taylor, based at UNC-Chapel Hill, has recently been awarded a major National Institute of Health (NIH) Small Business Technology Transfer grant for the second phase of a research collaboration with neuroscience company Xona Microfluidics. The project, “A user-friendly scalable microfluidic platform for enhanced neuron-cell culture,”  seeks to provide neuroscience researchers a robust, user-friendly, and cost effective culture platform that can be used to manipulate and access neurons and their subcellular components. Conventional culture platforms can result in random growth of processes, which skews data and inhibits interpretation– exactly what Dr. Taylor and the team at Xona are hoping to overcome with their novel platform. The first phase of the project, previously funded by the NIH, saw the creation of the prototype platforms, which were replica-molded using a transparent polymer against master molds. In the current phase, the team looks to expand their fabrication strategy and undertake large-scale manufacturing, in addition to developing more specialized platforms. The commercialization of this type of research aid is crucial for the growth of neuro-related studies and will enable new and improved researach paradigms, a detail undoubtedly not missed by the NIH. Congratulations to Dr. Taylor and her research team for such an outstanding accomplishment!

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