Professor Milica Radisic joins new Centre for Research and Applications in Fluidic Technologies (CRAFT)

U of T Engineering is partnering with Canada’s National Research Council (NRC) to create a national innovation hub focused on microfluidics – a field in which tiny amounts of fluid are manipulated in small-scale devices to create everything from portable diagnostic “labs,” to repair kits for human organs.

The new hub, called the Centre for Research and Applications in Fluidic Technologies (CRAFT) will combine the talents of U of T Engineering microfluidic experts, including Milica Radisic (IBBME, ChemE), and NRC scientists in a bid to catalyze new discoveries and scale up production of existing prototypes to deliver higher quality patient care at a lower cost.

In total, CRAFT will involve more than 200 people, 45 labs and 25 technology companies, and will be jointly funded by both partners with a $22 million investment over five years.

Radisic, Canada Research Chair in Functional Cardiovascular Tissue Engineering, and Wheeler, Canada Research Chair of Bioanalytical Chemistry, will also play key roles in the CRAFT collaboration. Radisic has developed an injectable patch, which can be seeded with heart cells from a patient’s own body, to repair tissues damaged during a heart attack without resorting to open-heart surgery.

“Many researchers build their prototypes out of a material called polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS),” says Radisic. “It’s easy to work with in the lab, but it absorbs small molecules, including drugs, which means we can’t use it for the commercial versions. NRC scientists know how to make devices from other thermoplastic elastomers that don’t absorb small molecules.

“That would be a game changer for us.”

Click here to learn more about Centre for Research and Applications in Fluidic Technologies (CRAFT)

This short video profiles Milica Radisics work on growing heart tissue from human cells:

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