IMPACT: From Our Students

Building synthetic scaffolds that mimic structures found in the human body

As a PhD candidate in materials science and engineering, Jed Johnson developed a nanofiber technology using a process of electrospinning. Johnson’s nanofiber-coated 3D cell culture plate, similar to a petri dish, was first used by researchers at Ohio State’s Comprehensive Cancer Center to grow brain tumors in the laboratory and study how they reacted to treatments. Johnson and an interdisciplinary team of scientists and technology entrepreneurs won Ohio State’s Business Plan Competition in 2009, and today, he and a business partner run Nanofiber Solutions. At the urging of scientists in Sweden, the company created a 3D model of a human trachea that was surgically implanted into four patients in Europe—extending those patients’ lives. Now, Johnson is creating other products used in regenerative medicine, veterinary and 3D cell culture applications.

Improving MRI images of the brain

A group of Ohio State students was among 13 winning teams of the Neuro Startup Challenge, a national competition designed to foster commercialization of promising medical inventions based on technologies created with National Institutes of Health funding. The students developed NeuroCognetix, a patent-pending technology consisting of a camera and a proprietary software algorithm that reduces the number of MRI rescans caused by patient movement, a problem that costs the U.S. health care system approximately $6 billion annually. The team will continue to work with MRI companies to integrate their technology.