Funding Renewed for Biotech Center, LSU One of Five Partners

December 5, 2022 

Sunggook ParkBATON ROUGE, LA – The Center for BioModular Multi-Scale Systems, or CBM2, was recently renewed for funding through the National Institutes of Health as a National Biotechnology Resource Center. CBM2’s partners include LSU, the University of Kansas, the University of Kansas Medical Center, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, and Wake Forest School of Medicine.

The total amount of the center’s renewed five-year grant is nearly $6 million, while the LSU portion of the funds is just over
$2 million.

CBM2’s team of senior scientists aims to design, manufacture, and deliver new tools to the biomedical community for analyzing circulating biomarkers for disease management. These circulating biomarks comprise a Liquid Biopsy, which can be secured from blood, urine, cerebrospinal fluid, or others; and these markers come in many forms, such as whole biological cells, cell-free molecules, cell-free DNA, and extracellular vesicles and exosomes.

LSU is represented in the center by Mechanical Engineering Professors Sunggook Park and Michael Murphy. The pair are in charge of two of CBM2’s three translational research and development components—developing plastic nanosensors for single molecular detection and utilizing systems engineering to integrate different micro- and nanofluidic bioanalytic modules into a fluidic motherboard.

“We are developing in-plane nanopore devices in plastics, which allow for sensing and identifying different single biomolecules,” Park said. “We fabricate those plastic devices via nanoimprint lithography, which is a low-cost and high-throughput nanomanufacturing technology. We also study how single molecules and ions are translocating through nanopores and nanochannels formed in plastics.”

Park added that he and Murphy, in addition to their research, spend significant time disseminating their micro/nanomanufacturing technologies to other university labs and industries as collaborative and service projects. They also share their technologies with K-12 schools.

The work done by Park and Murphy in their roles with CBM2 surely has significance to disease management methods around the world, but how does it impact the people closer to home in Louisiana?

“LSU is one of the national leaders in plastic micro- and nanomanufacturing, which has become more and more important as the technical paradigm in biomedical communities has shifted to Precision Medicine,” Park said. “Precision Medicine requires acquisition of a huge number of genomic data, and thus, it is critical to produce various biosensors and bioanalytic tools in large quantity at low cost. The devices that we are producing in the center provide the ability to analyze circulating biomarkers secured from blood samples that will have an impact in managing a number of diseases such as cancers, stroke, and bacterial infections.

“Thus, the technology that we are developing in this center can be an important part of LSU’s recent pursuit of the National Cancer Institute designation. Also, the micro- and nanomanufacturing technologies that we are developing in LSU will contribute to the manufacturing sector of Louisiana industries.”

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Contact: Joshua Duplechain
Director of Communications