Published on 17/11/2020
Immunostaining of tuj-1
  • The PLATFORMA  consortium has received a prestigious award of €2.0million in funding from the European Commission
  • PLATFORMA will create purpose-built, 3D modular human tissues supported by laser-printed bio-compatible scaffolds
  • The PLATFORMA project launched in October 2020 and research and innovation activities will be conducted over two years.   

The PLATFORMA  consortium has received a prestigious award of €2.0million in funding from the European Commission as part of its EIC Pathfinder ‘Translation to Innovation’ scheme (EIC). PLATFORMA is a commercially driven collaboration to produce novel high-content phenotypic platforms for screening cosmetics, pollutants and new therapeutics. It is a follow-on project to a previous Aston University-coordinated successful collaboration, MESO-BRAIN (MesoBrain).

About the PLATFORMA project

PLATFORMA will create purpose-built, 3D modular human tissues supported by laser-printed bio-compatible scaffolds from which electro-physiological status of the cells can be monitored. Each tissue module will consist of multiple different cell types. Two main modules will be developed namely a Skin Module and a Muscle Module. The project aims to develop a Skin-sensory module for peripheral neurotoxicity testing of cosmetics, pollutants and transdermal delivery of new therapeutics, and a Muscle-motor model to support studies of muscular atrophies & motor neuron diseases with genetically engineered or patient-derived cells.

Professor Edik Rafailov, Head of the PLATFORMA project said: “We are building on the successful foundations of the MESO-BRAIN project and moving in the direction of market demand from Central Nervous System (CNS) models to Peripheral Nervous System (PNS) models. The PLATFORMA project will move forward by using the biocompatible scaffolds and stem cell differentiation / culture techniques developed during MESO-BRAIN project, supported by advanced photonic characterisations systems, to create tissue / cell type modules, and then multi-layered organ-on-chips models for high content screening”

The PLATFORMA project launched in October 2020 and research and innovation activities will be conducted over two years. 

About the PLATFORMA consortium

Led by Aston University, and joined by MESO-BRAIN expertise from Axol Bioscience and Liebniz University Hannover, the partnership is completed by industrial collaborators, StratiCELL and Laser nanoFab GmbH. The focus of the industrial partners, Axol, StratiCELL and Laser nanoFab is on the Scaffolds, the Skin Module and the Muscle Module respectively.

Aston University (UK) Aston Institute of Photonic Technology (College of Engineering and Physical Sciences) is one of the largest photonic groups in UK and an internationally recognised research centre in the fields of lasers, fibre-optics, high-speed optical communications and nonlinear photonic technologies.

Aston Neuroscience Institute (ANI) encompasses interdisciplinary research for the study of the central nervous system (CNS). Members conduct fundamental research that is applied to meaningful questions which impacts upon the wellbeing and success of young people and society. The Leibniz University Hannover (Germany) Institute of Quantum Optics has provided key contributions to the progress of the following laser technologies: femtosecond laser material processing; three-dimensional additive laser nanomanufacturing by two photon polymerization technique; laser generation and printing of nanoparticles; and laser printing of living cells and tissue. Especially the work on laser cell printing can make a considerable contribution to human health and longevity.

Axol Bioscience (UK) was founded to fulfil the unmet demand for high quality, clinically relevant human iPSC-derived cells for use in biomedical research and drug discovery. Laser nanoFab GmbH (Germany) was founded to commercialize micro- and nanofabrication technology and systems. Located in the region of Hannover, Germany, they provide nanofabrication solutions, systems and consulting.

StratiCELL (Belgium) founded in 2005, has continuously developed a range of in-vitro models and testing solutions to support the development of skin care products. The company has more than 140 customers, including the biggest names in the cosmetics and dermo-pharmaceutical industry.

DLM Consultancy Services Limited (Edinburgh, Scotland) helps to bridge the gap between the academic and business sectors in supporting collaboration, enterprise, and knowledge-based business development.

About the EIC Pathfinder Transition to Innovation funding

Horizon 2020 aims to ensure Europe produces world-class science and technology by removing barriers to innovation through funding programmes such as the EIC Pathfinder (formerly the Future and Emerging Technologies scheme). The Transition to Innovation strand supports consortia of existing or recently finished FET projects to translate their most promising results from proof of concept to market ready or near to market innovations. The PLATFORMA project capitalises on the success of the H2020 funded FET project MESO-BRAIN. H2020 will conclude on 31st December 2020 and will be succeeded by the Horizon Europe programme (Horizon Europe).




Notes to editors


The PLATFORMA initiative seeks to capitalise on the results in the MESO-BRAIN project in the direction of market demand. This innovation project, led by Aston University, is a collaboration between Leibniz University Hannover (DE), Laser nanoFab GmbH (Germany), Axol Bioscience (UK), StratiCELL (Belgium) and DLM Consultancy Services Ltd (Edinburgh, Scotland). The project is funded by the European Commission through its EIC Translation to Innovation scheme.

About Aston University

Founded in 1895 and a University since 1966, Aston is a long established university led by its three main beneficiaries – students, business and the professions, and our region and society. Aston University is located in Birmingham and at the heart of a vibrant city and the campus houses all the university’s academic, social and accommodation facilities for our students. Professor Alec Cameron is the Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive.

For media enquiries in relation to this release, contact Rebecca Hume, Press and PR Officer, on 07557 745416 or email

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