Microfluidic Device and System for Analyzing Shear Forces in Blast-Induced Traumatic Brain Injury

The present invention is a device for simulating the biological effects of pressure waves resulting from explosions on cells of the central nervous system. Traumatic brain injury (TBI) occurs when neural tissue is subjected to shear forces, such as those induced by the propagation of shockwaves in the brain. The resulting cellular damage can lead to long-term cognitive impairment.

This invention provides a microscope-compatible microfluidic chamber to controllably subject live cells to transient shear forces and analyze their response in real-time. In contrast to existing technologies, this device permits both the use of primary human neural cell cultures and the generation of shear forces on the sub-millisecond time scale necessary to accurately model the effects of blasts on human tissue. Moreover, the device is compatible with a wide variety of existing optical microscopy systems and is well-suited for basic research and drug discovery.

Potential Commercial Applications: Competitive Advantages:
  • neuronal stress studies
  • traumatic brain injury
  • neuron microscopy
  • drug discovery
  • compatible with primary human cell cultures
  • millisecond time scale shear force generation
  • real-time imaging capabilities

Development Stage:
  • In vitro data available
  • Prototype

Related Invention(s):


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Intellectual Property:
US Application No. 62/062,053
US Application No. 14/880,150

Collaboration Opportunity:

The National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering is seeking statements of capability or interest from parties interested in collaborative research to further develop, evaluate or commercialize devices for simulating brain injury. For collaboration opportunities, please contact Henry Eden, M.D., Ph.D. at 301-435-1953 or Martha Lubet at lubetm@mail.nih.gov.

Licensing Contact:
Admin. Licensing Specialist (ALS),

OTT Reference No: E-001-2015-0
Updated: Nov 30, 2015