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This project, funded by Gebert Rüf Stiftung, is supported by the following project partners: EPFL – Laboratory of Microsystems (LMIS2); EPFL – Laboratory of Integrative Systems Physiology (LISP); ECAL (Ecole cantonale d'art de Lausanne); Nagi Bioscience
Project no: GRS-028/18
Amount of funding: CHF 92'000
Duration: 10.2018 - 01.2020
Area of activity:
DesignPlus, 2013 - 2018
Dr. Matteo Cornaglia
Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne
Microsystems and Microelectronics
EPFL-STI-IMT-LMIS2, BM3135, Station 17
1015 Lausanne (Schweiz)
- matteo.cornaglia@epfl. ch
Nagi Bioscience aims to revolutionize the way toxic and/or beneficial effects of substances can be tested today, by introducing the first “Organism-on-Chip” technology. Our patented solution combines the use of microscopic worms – i.e. Caenorhabditis elegans nematodes – as in vivo models for drug/chemical screening with the first technological platform for their fully automated in vitro culture, treatment and high-content analysis. The project builds on a 4.5 year-long collaboration between microtechnology engineers and biologists at EPFL. Supported by the Gebert Rüf Stiftung project “Nematrix Technologies”, the first prototype of this disruptive technology is today operational. The goal of this Design+ project is now to tackle the next challenge: together with designers from the ECAL, we will transform the current prototype from a functional assembly of laboratory components into an integrated user-friendly device, ready to be transferred to partner laboratories for beta testing and aiming to set a novel industry standard in the near future. We believe that the introduction of this device into the market will not only help to push medical science forward, but also put Switzerland at the forefront of a new sustainable way to do chemical/drug discovery and development.
What is special about the project?
By combining the advantages of a highly validated biological model with the unprecedented automation possibilities offered by our future device, the Nagi Bioscience Design+ project aims to set a new standard among the technological tools offering alternative opportunities to traditional animal testing. In fact, the “Organism-on-Chip” device is meant to perfectly fill the current gap between cell-based (in vitro) and mice-based (in vivo) assay technologies. On the one hand, C. elegans provides a complete and reliable in vivo model, allowing the assessment of complex biological responses at whole-organism level, which are typically not observable using cell-based methods. On the other hand, our “worm assays” will be performed at high-throughput-like scales of automation and standardization, which is key to attain the throughput and reliability standards requested by industrial applications.
The project was executed together with recent graduate designers from the École cantonale d'art de Lausanne (ECAL), who perfectly complement the skills of our multidisciplinary team at EPFL, built at the interface between microtechnology, biology and robotics. Aims and outcomes of the project have been moreover monitored by biologists from EPFL and UNIL, first beta testers of our device, and with experts from major industrial groups within our target markets, interested in potential collaborations/partnerships starting from 2020. The project allowed finalizing a full re-design of key hardware and software components of our prototype and successfully assembling our first pre-industrial device.
Persons involved in the project
, PhD Microtechnology, EPFLLaurent Mouchiroud
, PhD biology, Lyon IFabien Tâche
, PhD robotics, ETHAurélien Ponzio
, MS Microtechnology, EPFLSumegha Mantri
, MA product design, ECALJoëlle Aeschlimann
, MA UI/UX design, ECAL
AdvisorsProf. Dr. Martin Gijs
, PI at EPFL/LMIS2Prof. Dr. med. Johan Auwerx
, PI at EPFL/LISPProf. Lluis Fajas Coll
, PI at UNIL/CIG
Last update to this project presentation 02.12.2020