Dr. Prabhu Arumugam earns $1.8 million NIH grant for innovative neuroscience research

Oct 11, 2023 | Engineering and Science, Faculty/Staff, General News, Research, Research and Development

Dr. Prabhu Arumugam, Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering program at Louisiana Tech University’s Institute of Micromanufacturing, has earned nearly $1.8 million from the U.S. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS)/National Institutes of Health (NIH) Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) program to continue his innovative development of implantable biosensor neural probes.

This substantial grant funds the launch of Phase II of the research, building on the success of Phase I. Like Phase I, which included students and faculty from across engineering disciplines and involved creating a more robust microarray probe with microfluidic delivery method and improved neurochemical monitoring outcomes, Phase II will be a collaborative effort that will include research across Louisiana Tech labs, with facilities at other universities, and with industry partners.

During Phase II, Arumugam and his Advanced Materials Research Laboratory will work closely with Dr. Teresa Murray’s (Interim Academic Director for Chemical and Biomedical Engineering and Professor of Biomedical Engineering and Louisiana Tech’s Center for Biomedical Engineering and Rehabilitation Science) and Dr. Shabnam Siddiqui’s (Research Associate Professor at the Center for Biomedical Engineering and Rehabilitation Science) labs to improve probe performance in well-established animal models.

The core of this research lies in the conceptualization and development of innovative neuro probes, a venture that has the potential to revolutionize our understanding of the human brain and lead to transformative advancements in the development of new and more effective treatments of neurological disorders such as epilepsy, dementia, and Parkinson’s Disease. The successful completion of Phase I, which focused on proof-of-concept probe prototyping and received funding for more than $200,000, paved the way for the increased investment in Phase II.

Industry partners Alcorix Co and NeuroNexus will help microfabricate, package and distribute the final product.

“I am so proud of Dr. Arumugam’s visionary leadership and unwavering commitment to excellence, which have been instrumental in this research’s success,” Dr. Collin Wick, Interim Dean of the College of Engineering and Science, said. “The neuro probes developed in his research lab represent a leap forward in our ability to explore the intricacies of the human brain. This Phase II STTR funding signifies the NINDS and NIH’s confidence in the project’s potential. It is also a recognition of Dr. Arumugam’s expertise and dedication and of the exceptional skills that the students in his, Dr. Murray’s, and Dr. Siddiqui’s labs gain at Louisiana Tech. These skills translate directly to student success in graduate school and the workforce.”

The support of industry partners further emphasizes the practical applications and commercial potential of the neuro probes. This collaborative effort extends beyond academia, reinforcing Louisiana Tech’s role as a catalyst for innovation that bridges the gap between research and real-world impact. Driven by innovative researchers like Arumugam, the University continues to push the boundaries of knowledge and foster collaboration across various fields.