Daniele Recipient of Chancellor’s Innovation Fund Award
Michael Daniele awarded support from the Chancellor’s Innovation Fund for his research developing a microfluidic device that mimic’s the blood-brain barrier—critical in determining new drug viability.
August 5, 2021 By Matt Simpson
Research at NC State uncovers potential solutions to some of the world’s grandest challenges. And thanks to the Chancellor’s Innovation Fund (CIF), six new projects, including one from Michael Daniele, associate professor of electrical and computer engineering, will receive support that could bring their research one step closer to market-ready technologies — with broad societal impacts.
“Since the Chancellor’s Innovation Fund launched over a decade ago, it’s proven to be a highly effective way NC State can help our faculty commercialize their cutting-edge research — and ultimately solve pressing problems,” says Wade Fulghum, assistant vice chancellor of the Office of Research Commercialization. “The goal is to provide the critical funding needed to translate technologies to a point where a startup can be formed for commercialization or a license can be executed with an existing company.”
Mimicking the Blood-Brain Barrier More Closely in Preclinical Trials
Most drugs to treat brain and other central nervous system diseases must cross the blood-brain barrier in order to work. That’s why the first step in determining a drug candidate’s viability is often testing the likelihood it will successfully cross the blood-brain barrier. However, current testing methods tend to overestimate that likelihood — which can result in wasted effort and resources when the drug is later found ineffective in clinical trials.
Daniele has developed a microfluidic device that might be able to mimic the blood-brain barrier much more closely than current, 2D testing models can. Daniele’s 3D chip contains two engineered-tissue components — a blood vessel and glial tissue — forming an interface that fits in the palm of your hand. Daniele, who also holds an appointment in NC State and UNC-Chapel Hill’s Joint Department of Biomedical Engineering, says it could also be used to replicate other systems — like the lungs, skin, gut, or even a tumor — simply by swapping out the brain tissue for any type of tissue that fed with capillary blood vessels.
CIF support will be used to validate that the technology can simulate the blood-brain barrier function continuously for multiple days during drug screening.
The CIF, founded in 2010, provides seed funding to a select few NC State research projects each year that have promise for market success. The CIF aims to help these research projects bridge the gap between public and private funding. For every dollar the CIF has awarded, it has generated close to $20 in additional funding or investment.
To date, the CIF has granted nearly $3.7 million to 57 projects — which have attracted over $64 million in follow-on funding. These projects have led to 32 startup companies, 59 license agreements and $1.6 million in licensing revenue.
Original article from NC State News