NeuroNexus 3D Printing in use at UPenn

January 7, 2015



NeuroNexus recently collaborated with Shane Heiney of Javier Medina's lab at the University of Pennsylvania to design a custom component for their research with mice. Through the use of our in-house high-resolution 3D printing, we were able to arrive at a solution that improved the process and duration of Shane's experiments.

Shane Custom3DPrint 1

Tell us about your application and the problem your 3D print design was trying to solve.

"In our lab we make repeated daily acute microelectrode recordings from awake mice and needed a way to keep the craniotomy healthy between sessions. We had tried to chronically implant several different custom designed plastic rings to serve as 'recording chambers' but none of these designs offered a good way to completely enclose the craniotomy to keep air and infectious particles out. This forced us to perform dura peels almost daily to remove scar tissue and other 'gunk' that had accumulated between sessions.

What we needed was a chamber with a well-fitted locking cap."

Why did you choose 3D printing to produce your components?

"Recording chambers with locking caps are standard in non-human primate work and several vendors provide them, but we could find no vendors offering a similar design at a mouse scale. We thought this was a perfect use case for 3D printing."

Shane Custom3DPrint 2

How was your experience working with NeuroNexus?

"We designed a custom recording chamber with interlocking lid and approached NeuroNexus to see if they would be able to print it for us. Our primary concern was that some of the features would be too small even for their high resolution printer to handle. Their engineers worked with us through several iterations of the design to come up with a finished product that is far more robust than our original design. They even suggested a new feature that turned out to be critical for holding the cap in place while the mouse is in its home cage between experiments."

Tell us about the results of the collaboration.

"We have been very pleased with the results of this collaboration and the newly designed chambers have greatly increased the health of the dura between sessions. We've found that by adding a small amount of silicone elastomer to the dura between experiments, which the cap prevents from falling out, we have eliminated the need for daily dura peels. Our implants routinely last for several months."


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