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January 4, 2023

Christian Franck awarded Defense University Research Instrumentation Program funding

Written By: Caitlin Scott



Christian Franck, Bjorn Borgen Professor of Mechanical Engineering, has received a Defense University Research Instrumentation Program award, bringing the tally of ME faculty with 2023 DURIP awards up to two!

These annual awards are highly competitive and finance the purchase of research equipment, enabling universities to perform state-of-the-art research that augments current and develops new capabilities. Franck’s award came after the announcement including Ying Li’s; DoD had leftover fiscal year 2022 funds they were able to roll into 2023 to fund more deserving research teams.

For Franck, this award will provide $432,385 for the purchase of an AFM-Confocal combined system (Oxford Instrument Asylum Research MFP-3D-BIO atomic force microscope integrated with Nikon Instruments AX confocal microscope) that will enable his team to make molecular and atomic measurements for pinpointing the root cause of traumatic brain injuries and concussions.

AFM stands for Atomic Force Microscope, which is a specialized instrument meant to resolve single molecules and atoms as well as their physical interactions. Confocal microscopy is a light-based 3D imaging modality meant to provide high resolution, 3D renderings of living structures like cells and tissues in the brain. The integrated combination of these two techniques is particularly powerful as it facilitates access to brain tissue from millimeters all the way down to single atoms. The research team’s goal is to use this unique system to pinpoint the molecular root cause of traumatic brain injuries, which includes concussions, with unprecedented resolution. This capability will further support their ONR-sponsored PANTHER program on improving TBI prevention and mitigation strategies.

Learn more about Franck’s work.

Professor Christian Franck, Mechanical Engineering, UW–Madison