NIH Awards $7.5M for UR Center to Help Shape Future of Drug Development

Jan. 9, 2024

Scientist James McGrath, PhD, is the leader of a University of Rochester team that is creating sophisticated new tools for drug development without the need for animal testing. A five-year National Institutes of Health grant for $7.5 million supports a new campus center to house this project, called the Translational Center for Barrier Microphysiological Systems (TraCe-bMPS).

James McGrath, PhD, and team
Jim McGrath, third from left, with the UR tissue-on-a-chip team.

Rochester’s center will operate in partnership with Duke University, and includes co-investigators and partners from the UR Medical Center, the UR Clinical & Translational Science Institute, Rochester Institute of Technology, and industry. The team is focused on tissue-on-a-chip technology, which involves using small chips with ultrathin membranes of human cells and are often designed to mimic human diseases.

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McGrath, a Wilmot Cancer Institute investigator, pioneered the chips that will be used in the project. He is the William R. Kenan Jr. Professor of Biomedical Engineering, and a member of Wilmot’s Cancer Microenvironment research program. Other key partners from URMC include: Joan Adamo, director of the Office of Regulatory Support at the CTSI, who will serve as associate director for qualification at the Tra-Ce-bMPS center; Hani Awad, the Donald and Mary Clark Distinguished Professor in Orthopaedics, and a professor of biomedical engineering, will serve as the associate director for development; and Benjamin Miller, PhD, a Dean’s Professor of Dermatology, is the associate director for resources.