2018 Tissue Chip Testing Center Awards

In September 2018, NCATS funded an estimated $6 million in two-year awards to continue supporting the Tissue Chip Testing Centers (TCTCs) and the database center that had been established in 2016. Investigators at these centers tested and validated tissue chip platforms developed through the Tissue Chip for Drug Screening program. The new awards, which were made in response to RFA-TR-18-005 and RFA-TR-18-006, supported activities by these NextGen TCTCs to advance the wider adoption of tissue chip technologies by the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries, as well as regulatory agencies, and to transition this technology into commercialization. View details of the project plans below:

Researchers holding tissuechip in lab

Researchers Courtney Sakolish and Yizhong Liu holding a tissue chip in the lab. (Texas A&M University Photo)

Texas A&M University, College Station

TEX-VAL: Texas A&M Tissue Chip Validation Consortium

Principal Investigators: Ivan Rusyn, M.D., Ph.D., and Clifford Stephan, Ph.D.
Grant Number: 1-U24-TR-002633-01

The Tissue Chip Validation Center at Texas A&M University (TEX-VAL) was established to validate tissue chips developed in the Tissue Chip for Drug Screening program. In the first two years, center staff evaluated the functionality, reproducibility, robustness and reliability of 11 tissue chips. TEX-VAL will build on these efforts by establishing a public-private consortium with the goal of promoting adoption of tissue chips by industry for drug development and by government agencies for regulatory decision making. TEX-VAL investigators will use reference chemicals to establish whether tissue chip performance is reproducible and whether the data that can be obtained from the chips can be used to make decisions about the safety and effectiveness of chemicals.

Learn more about this project in NIH RePORTER.

A 3-D confocal microscopy projection

A 3-D confocal microscopy projection showing topography and localization of cells throughout the cell layer in the human jejunal gut microphysiological system. (MIT Photo)

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Translational Center of Tissue Chip Technologies for Quantitative Characterization of Microphysiological System Technologies

Principal Investigators: Murat Cirit, Ph.D., and Alan J. Grodzinsky, Sc.D.
Grant Number: 1-U24-TR-002634-01

For tissue chips developed in academic laboratories to be transferred to industry, the chips must undergo a process called quantitative characterization and validation, preferably by an independent external testing facility. The Translational Center of Tissue Chip Technologies combines quantitative experimental biology, computational biology and biostatistics to characterize tissue chips and translate experimental results to clinical outcomes. The center will continue to fill this gap between tissue chip developers and commercial applications and is designed to become a self-sustaining service provider for the pharmaceutical industry. The center’s multidisciplinary team is highly experienced in tissue chip testing and will design and conduct model-guided experiments, obtain data in collaboration with partner sites, and analyze and report data.

Learn more about this project in NIH RePORTER.

University of Pittsburgh

University of Pittsburgh Microphysiology Systems Database Center

Principal Investigators: Mark E. Schurdak, Ph.D., and Albert H. Gough, Ph.D.
Grant Number: 1-U24-TR-002632-01

The Microphysiological Systems (MPS) Database Center was created to support the informatics needs of the NIH Tissue Chip Consortium, a partnership between NCATS, the TCTCs and industry representatives. Data about diverse organ systems generated by TCTCs are stored in the MPS database. Center staff have developed and implemented tools to aggregate and manage these data and to evaluate the performance of tissue chips, including their reproducibility and ability to predict clinically relevant drug responses. The MPS Database Center will support the NextGen TCTCs by serving as a data warehouse; developing additional tools for analysis; ensuring the quality, integrity and availability of data; and disseminating results to the NIH Tissue Chip Consortium.

Learn more about this project in NIH RePORTER.


Danilo Tagle, Ph.D.