The Device Development and Biological Testing Core supports discovery work in the nervous system, prototyping of innovative implantable and wearable medical devices, testing of neuro-inflammation and biological reactivity to implantable micro-technologies.​  A Quality Management System (QMS) for medical device development has been implemented to prepare our devices for manufacturing and ensure regulatory compliance.

This core houses the only Good Laboratory Practice (GLP) preclinical testing facility in Western Canada.  It supports the completion of preclinical research services to help University researchers and client companies develop therapeutic products or establish product safety in compliance with regulatory approval under the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) Good Laboratory Practice regulations or FDA 21CFR Part 58.

Sampling in biological testing

©University of Alberta.
​All Rights Reserved. 



  • Developing new strategies and therapeutics to improve device compatibility and integration with
    ​the central nervous system
  • Studying the relationship between inflammation and psychiatric disorders, neurodegenerative disorders and implanted device biocompatibility
  • Studying the bidirectional relationship between inflammation and neuropathology
  • Identifying, targeting and modulating specific microglial phenotypes to promote recovery or repair
    of injured tissue
  • 3D hydrogel culture for testing impact-induced injury and device biocompatibility
  • Development, design and prototyping techniques applied to Micro and Nano-Electro-Mechanical-Systems (MEMS/NEMS) and applying it in sensors used in remote Structural Health Monitoring of critical systems such as pipelines, civil transportation systems, automotive and aerospace systems
  • Intraspinal microstimulation (ISMS) is micro-device for restoring standing and walking in people
    with paralysis due to spinal cord injury
  • Implanted in the spinal cord below the level of an injury and minute levels of current are
    delivered to activate remaining locomotor-like networks that then activate muscles in the legs
    ​in a coordinated manner
  • Developing the device for long-term testing in persons with spinal cord injury
  • Advancing the development of models and instrumentation to study the biomechanics of injury
    and protection devices
  • Developing miniature stimulators and sensors for wearable devices for biomedical applications
    and biomechanical assessment of human motion
  • Miniature stimulators for devices such as the SOCC (Smart Ongoing Circulatory Compressions)
    for preventing the formation of deep vein thrombosis (DVT)
  • Lends support to numerous projects requiring microfabrication
  • Experience with polymer and standard micromachining technologies with applications in the field
    ​of micro-electro-mechanical systems (MEMS), microfluidics, soft robotics, nerve injury and bioinspired systems


Device Development

  • Laser microfabrication suite
    • ​​Femtosecond laser 
    • Optical profiler 
    • ​Fibre laser micro-welder 
    • Excimer nanosecond laser
    • Phenom XL scanning electron microscope
    • Industrial grade dual extrusion 3D printer
    • 3-axis vertical HAAS CNC milling machine
    • 5-axis bench top CNC milling machine
    • Stereolithic apparatus printer
  • Micro system analyzer with scanning laser vibrometry, topography measurement, planar motion analysis, high frequency and dual dual beam measurement option
  • Beveller Suite, function generators, power supplies, oscilloscopes and wet bench  microscopes
  • Electrochemical Testing: cyclic voltammetry electrical impedance spectroscopy and voltage transients
  • Micromanipulators, soldering stations and  microeclectrode arrays​
  • Spin Coater

High Throughput Cell Culture 

  • Cell counter
  • Digital inverted microscope 120V
  • Digital water bath
  • Autoclave
  • Universal water jacketed C02 incubator
  • Stereomicroscope
  • Digital shaking incubator
  • Biosafety cabinet
  • Allevi 3 ​Bioprinter
  • Multi-channel microstimulators​

Diagnostic Equipment

  • Urisys 1100
  • Procyte DX Hematology Analyzer

Multi-photon microscope

Excimer laser

Tissue Processing 

  • Low rpm centrifuge
  • Refrigerated microfuge centrifuge
  • Microplate reader and washer
  • Infrared imaging system
  • Ultra-low freezer
  • Milli Q Water purification System
  • Microtome
  • Cryostats
  • Confocal fluorescent Inverted microscope
  • Upright Fluorescent microscope
  • Multi-photon microscope
  • Ultrasonic System
  • Neural Signal Processor


  • Custom adhesion test system (useful for the gecko adhesive work and other soft materials characterization)
  • Ultrasonic welder
  • Laminators
  • Customized FDM 3D printers
  • Screw extruders
  • Vacuum ovens
  • Microinjection molder
  • 3-roll mill
  • Twin-screw polymer compounder and glove box for carbon based nanoparticle handling
  • Optical and IR imagery
  • Custom optical and electronic transducers