The Brillance of Ingenuity

Missile Defense Agency Tech Update

Missile Defense Agency Tech Update

From Models to Mortals

Human-on-a-chip project provides lessons in anatomy.

In 2012, CFD Research Corporation (CFDRC; Huntsville, AL) announced a cooperative agreement with Harvard University and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to create “human-on-a-chip” technology that can simulate the operations of the lung, liver, heart, and brain.

The plastic microchips are being designed to shorten the drug-discovery cycle for pharmaceutical companies, by providing biological models for research and testing.

CFDRC also has embarked on a project with the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to further develop a cell-based microchip that mimics the blood-brain barrier (BBB), using human cells that participate in the maintenance of this barrier. CFDRC already has patented its SynVivo platform, which allows quantitative analysis, better understanding, and real-time observations of how drugs are transported in the microvasculature regions of various organs. SynVivo could serve as a stepping stone to personalized and targeted therapies, and CFDRC leaders expect to further the company’s capabilities through the NIH work.

Since 2003, CFDRC has had four MDA SBIR contracts for developing modeling and simulation tools for missile defense. The MDA projects have led to other pathways, such as the chip platform for studying complex cellular behavior and human microanatomy.

  • CFDRC specializes in developing, patenting, and licensing a variety of novel technologies, with an emphasis especially in modeling and simulation. Areas of expertise range from aerospace to biomedical to energy and materials.

Contact Information
Ashok Singhal,
CFD Research Corporation,
Phone: (256) 726-4829,

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