NIST Researchers Advance Electronic Organs-on-a-Chip Technology

NIST Researchers Advance Electronic Organs-on-a-Chip Technology

Researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have developed a technology that measures physical properties of cells to help determine the effects of drugs and other treatments. This type of technology is known as organ-on-a-chip, which can be used to imitate the interaction of cells in a specific organ to assess the efficacy of a drug.


Regarding the technology, lead researcher Darwin Reyes writes, “Today’s biomedical and cell biology basic research communities have had limited experience using electronic measurements, making them less attractive. That’s why I engineered an electronic measurement system that allows for a rapid setup of cells in organ-on-a-chip-type experiments as well as for placing cells specifically on sensors for the measurement of cell migratory behavior.”


NIST funds research such as this to advance the agency’s mission to promote U.S. innovation and industrial competitiveness by advancing measurement science, standards, and technology. Investments in breakthrough research lead to real-world solutions that enhance economic security and improve our quality of life in the United States and globally. “Bioscience” is one of the agency’s top areas of study, which has become an especially crucial as engineering and biomedical research continue to overlap to a greater extent.


The federal government has increased its focus on biotechnology and bioengineering in recent years, understanding the important impact breakthrough technology in the field can have on the world. In 2016, the Department of Commerce and NIST established the Biopharmaceutical Manufacturing Institute NIIMBL as part of the growing Manufacturing USA network. NIIMBL was recently awarded $8.9M from NIST for Pandemic Response activities funded by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

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