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Thursday, February 22, 2024

CRAFT Device Foundry ushers in a new period of microfluidic device fabrication

University of Toronto's CRAFT Device

Key Takeaways:

  • The Centre for Research or Applications in Fluidic Technologies (CRAFT), a collaboration between the University of Toronto also the National Research Council of Canada.
  • They has opened a new research facility on the St. George campus of the Toronto University.

The Device Foundry will bring researchers, clinicians, entrepreneurs, and enterprise collaborators jointly to advance the fabrication of micro-nano fluidic devices. As a result, the facility, which houses equipment to support the large-scale production of biomedical devices, can quickly commercialize new healthcare technologies.

“The opening of the new Device Foundry is a huge milestone for CRAFT,” said Axel Guenther, co-director of CRAFT and a professor of mechanical engineering in the Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering.

“Many people from U of T and the NRC worked together to make this one-of-a-kind space a reality.” As a result, we are now well-positioned to advance the field of microfluidics and serve as a hub for collaborations that will bring innovative technologies to the healthcare community with the launch of this open-research facility.”

University of Toronto’s Centre for Research or Applications in Fluidic Technologies Device; Image from University of Toronto

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This week, NRC President Iain Stewart toured the new facility with senior U of T leaders and researchers, stopping to see the Device Foundry’s lithography cleanroom, fabrication room, and 3D printing station.

The investment, according to Allen, “will translate into clinical device innovations and position Canada at the forefront of the microfluidics field.”

The Device Foundry is designed to produce and deploy polymer-based biomedical microdevices as quickly as possible, such as organ-on-a-chip models of heart tissues and handheld 3D skin printers.

With more than 50 investigators, U of T has one of the world’s largest microfluidic device research communities. Including CRAFT co-leads Milica Radisic and Aaron Wheeler both professors in the Department of Chemistry in the Faculty of Arts or Science and the Institute of Biomedical Engineering. Wheeler is also a Donnelly Centre for Cellular and Biomolecular Research, which houses his lab.

Meanwhile, the NRC in Boucherville has 40 scientists working on micro-nano device research in diagnostics, precision medicine, and cell-based therapy.

“The hope is that the collaborative spirit that went into creating CRAFT and this new space will be reflected in the work that comes out of it,” Guenther said. “Thanks to the NRC’s investment, we now have dedicated technician support to train students, maintain the equipment, and assist researchers and start-ups in bringing their devices directly to the communities that need them.”

Source: University of Toronto News

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