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Bencherif Lab Receives ACORN Award

Chemical Engineering Assistant Professor Sidi A. Bencherif and graduate PhD student Zachary Rogers recently received a 2020 ACORN Innovation Award from The Massachusetts Technology Transfer Center for their project entitled “Hypoxia-inducing cryogels as a fast and inexpensive technology for hypoxic cell culture conditions”.

Photograph showing a couple of cryogel tablets that can deplete oxygen within minutes in aqueous solutions.

Hypoxic cell culture conditions are desirable for basic research, drug screening, regenerative medicine, and biopharmaceutical production. However, current technologies for maintaining hypoxic cell cultures are lacking or too expensive. To address this unmet need at a very competitive and attractive pricing, hypoxia-inducing cryogels (HICs) have been developed which deplete oxygen within 10 minutes in cell culture and continuously deplete oxygen as they enter cell culture media, maintaining hypoxia while allowing scientists to perform routine cell culture procedures. The Acorn funds will be used to make the product ready for commercialization by evaluating HIC’s in their performance in different cell culture conditions and compared to commercial products, simultaneously.

The MA Acorn Innovation Fund is intended to support the demonstration of the viability of a technology developed at Massachusetts research universities. Awards could be used to further develop a prototype or to gather additional data to demonstrate proof of concept or to obtain data that shows how the technology compares to existing technologies and what the competitive advantages are.

Related Faculty: Sidi A. Bencherif

Related Departments:Chemical Engineering