3-D Printed Patient-Specific Conduits for Complex Peripheral Nerve Injury

Web Published:

Princeton Docket # 14-3008-1


Researchers in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at Princeton University have developed a patient-specific nerve conduit device for complex peripheral nerve injury regeneration.


A nerve guidance channel (NGC) is a synthetic technology for guiding peripheral nerve regrowth to facilitate nerve regeneration and is an attractive clinical treatment alternative to autografts for nerve injuries. Conventional NGCs are linear and not customizable to complex nerve injuries, such as the ability to simultaneously guide sensory and motor nerve reinnervation.


This invention is a patient-specific complex nerve conduit regeneration technology fabricated via a combination of 3D scanning, 3D design, and 3D printing techniques. Briefly, 3D scanning is used to acquire anatomically accurate 3D models of nerve injuries, which are then processed and optimized in a  computational environment, and finally the 3D models are used to precisely fabricate patient-specific 3D NGCs via 3D printing. The conduit-based device can also contain biochemical cues (BCs) with high spatial resolution in both uniform and gradient distributions embedded via the same one-pot 3D printing process. Complex nerve injury regeneration has been demonstrated and validated in rat models.



•       Complex peripheral nerve injury treatment

•       Point-of-care

•       Guide sensory and motor pathways

•       Patient-specific treatment



•       Precise nerve injury assessment

•       Personalized NGC design

•       Customization and functionalization

•       Novel gradient BC distributions




B. N. Johnson, K. Z. Lancaster, G. Zhen, J. He, M. K. Gupta, Y. L. Kong, E. A. Engel, K. D. Krick, A. Ju, F. Meng, L. W. Enquist, X. Jia, M. C. McAlpine. "3D Printed Anatomical Nerve Regeneration Pathways." Adv. Funct. Mater. (2015).




Michael C. McAlpine is the Benjamin Mayhugh Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Minnesota (2015-Present). Previously, he was an Assistant Professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at Princeton University (2008-2015). He received a B.S. in Chemistry with honors from Brown University (2000) and a Ph.D. in Chemistry from Harvard University (2006). His research is focused on 3D printed bionic nanomaterials, which is the three-dimensional interweaving of biological and electronic nanomaterials using 3D printing. He has received a number of awards, most prominently an NIH Director’s New Innovator Award, a TR35 Young Innovator Award, an Air Force Young Investigator Award, an Intelligence Community Young Investigator Award, a DuPont Young Investigator Award, a DARPA Young Faculty Award, an American Asthma Foundation Early Excellence Award, a Graduate Student Mentoring Award, and an invitation to the National Academy of Engineering Frontiers in Engineering.


Intellectual Property & Development status

Patent protection is pending.

Princeton is currently seeking commercial partners for the further development and commercialization of this opportunity.




Chris Wright

Princeton University Office of Technology Licensing

• (609) 258-6762• cw20@princeton.edu

Xin (Shane) Peng

Princeton University Office of Technology Licensing

• (609) 258-5579• xinp@princeton.edu


Patent Information:
For Information, Contact:
Chris Wright
Licensing Associate
Princeton University
Michael Mcalpine
Blake Johnson
Hai-Quan Mao
Ahmet Hoke
3D Printing
regenerative medicine