About ACEA Biosciences

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Research Grant Program

The xCELLigence Research Grant is aimed at helping scientists achieve their research goals by providing them free access to RTCA technology.

For 6 months, the research grant winner will be provided:

  • xCELLigence Real Time Cell Analysis instrument
  • Consumables
  • Consultation for up to 6 months

ACEA is currently accepting xCELLigence Research Grant applications according to the schedule below.

Please read the official rules here.

Apply for Research Grant


Research TopicFunding PeriodInstrumentSubmissions Must Be Received ByWinner Announcement
ALLFebruary – July 2020xCELLigence RTCA DPJanuary 15, 2020February 5, 2020

Research Grant Winners

2020 Grant Recipient
KEITH RENNIER, Ph.D., a postdoctoral fellow in the Dr. Russell K. Pachynski lab at Washington University in St. Louis

Application: Immunotherapy

Dr. Keith Rennier, a postdoctoral fellow in the Dr. Russell K. Pachynski lab at Washington University in St. Louis, has been awarded the 2020 xCELLigence Research Grant. Dr. Rennier will have access to the xCELLigence RTCA DP instrument and consumables for up to 6 months. During this time, he will be investigating chemerin’s role in anti-tumor immunity in human prostate cancer by testing the functional significance of chemerin mediated PTEN modulation, as well as how increased PTEN activity affects PD-L1 and downstream immune response to the tumor microenvironment. This research project may help elucidate a novel role for chemerin in the PTEN-PDL1 pathway to mitigate tumor migration and to increase T cell mediated cytotoxicity.

2018 Grant Recipient
TERESA KRABBE, PhD student in the working group of Dr. Jennifer Altomonte, Klinikum Rechts der Isar of the Technical University Munich

Application: Oncolytic Viruses

Teresa Krabbe is awarded the xCELLigence Research Grant in December 2018 for her proposal to develop adoptive T cell therapy as a complimentary immunotherapeutic for an improved oncolytic virus platform.

“I am thrilled about the opportunity to work with the xCELLigence to continuously monitor tumor cells infected with our fusogenic oncolytic virus. It will greatly improve our ability to track the morphological changes that occur at very early stages of infection. We are additionally working on a combination of our oncolytic virus platform with TCR T cells and hope to illustrate a synergistic effect in vitro by real time cell analysis with the xCELLigence.”

Krabbe will be testing the use of adoptively transferred T cell receptor transgenic T (TCR-T) cells as cell carriers to deliver a novel hybrid vector comprising vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV) and Newcastle disease virus (NDV), named rVSV-NDV, and to provide synergistic effector functions. The goals of this study include 1) the characterization of the fusogenic oncolytic rVSV-NDV by impedance monitoring, and 2) the evaluation of an innovative strategy combining VSV-NDV with TCR-T as a delivery vehicle for the virus or using the virus to prime the tumor cells for a more effective T cell therapy.

2018 Grant Recipients

Application: Immunotherapy

Congratulations to our 2018 xCELLigence Research Grant Recipient Dr. Bryan D. Choi, of the Maus lab at Massachusetts General Hospital, for recently publishing his work using the xCELLigence instrument in Nature Biotechnology. You can read the article “CAR-T cells secreting BiTEs circumvent antigen escape without detectable toxicity” for the treatment of glioblastoma here.




Application: Bacterial Biofilm

Dr. Tammela received the xCELLigence Research Grant to facilitate her efforts at improving the antimicrobial drug discovery process, spanning all aspects from early target validation to detailed characterization of novel antimicrobial compounds. Citing that “current in vitro methods for biofilm research are slow, time-consuming and provide only end-point data,” Dr. Tammela’s team will be employing xCELLigence to monitor in real-time how E. coli biofilms respond to a library of compounds. In parallel, they will also use xCELLigence to study the impact of pathogenic E. coli infection on the integrity of epithelial cell monolayers in real-time. Learn more about using xCELLigence to study biofilms and bacterial infection of mammalian cells.


Application: Cell Adhesion

Dr. Vetter received the xCELLigence Research Grant to facilitate his study of the roles that RAGE (Receptor for Advanced Glycation End-products) plays in cell adhesion. Although RAGE has a clearly established pathophysiological significance in diseases ranging from Alzheimer’s to cancer, according to Dr. Vetter “the underlying molecular mechanisms of RAGE signaling and the role of RAGE in cell-cell and cell-matrix communication are not well understood.” By engineering mutants of RAGE which lack specific domains, Vetter and his team are elucidating which regions of this protein are important for interacting with specific extracellular matrix proteins. Dr. Vetter has also generated anti-RAGE monoclonal antibodies and is evaluating their efficacy for blocking RAGE-mediated adhesion. Although he began this work in standard 96-well plates, Dr. Vetter and his team found these traditional adhesion assays to have high standard deviations, and they were not amenable to time-course measurements. With its ability to monitor cellular adhesion quantitatively and continuously, xCELLigence Real-Time Cell Analysis should help these scientists address their questions much more efficiently.

2017 Grant Recipient

Application: Receptor Signaling

Dr. Karen Wright received the xCELLigence Research Grant to study the role of the CB1 cannabinoid receptor in regulating intercellular tight junctions and permeability in intestinal epithelial cells during inflammation. Though the impact of oxygen concentration on metabolic activity and gene expression profiles has been well established, few cell-based assays attempt to model physiological O2. Working within an enclosed workstation that maintains physiological oxygen concentration, Wright will use the xCELLigence system to monitor both early CB1 receptor signaling events and their long term functional outcome.

2016 Grant Recipient
Dr. Laetitia Aerts at the Free University of Brussels in Belgium

Application: Infectious Diseases

Christian Owusu, 2015 ACEA Grant RecipientDr. Laetitia Aerts awarded grant for investigating the impact of interleukin-22 on mycobacterium tuberculosis growth inside macrophages.

“We are thrilled to support this young research scientist in her endeavor to better understand this devastating infectious disease,” noted Yama Abassi, Ph.D., Vice President of ACEA Biosciences. “ACEA is committed to working closely with scientists throughout the world to help accelerate research towards eradicating diseases like TB.”

2015 Grant Recipient
Christian Owusu, Ph.D. candidate at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute and the University of Cambridge

Application: Parasitic Worm Motility and Viability

Christian Owusu, 2015 ACEA Grant RecipientChristian Owusu is awarded for his grant proposal for monitoring parasitic worm motility with xCELLigence RTCA technology.

“I am thrilled to have the opportunity to address fundamental questions in the pathology of schistosomiasis using real-time cell analysis,” he said upon receipt of the award. “The RTCA iCELLigence system will enable me to simultaneously assess the impact of schistosomiasis infection on host immune cells, as well as investigate the impact of immune cell metabolites and cytokines on parasite viability.”

2014 Grant Recipient
Jonathan Chen, Ph.D. candidate at Yale University, USA
Application: Cancer Cell Drug Resistance

Jonathan-Chen, 2014 ACEA Grant RecipientJonathan Chen is awarded for his proposal in combining Single Cell Analysis and Real-Time Cell Analysis (RTCA) technique to understand the mechanism of cancer cell drug resistance.

“I am extremely excited”, Jonathan stated upon receiving the award, “The iCELLigence system will allow me to further interrogate cancer cell proliferation, metabolic function, cell-cell interactions, and how the tumor microenvironment is affected by molecular perturbations and influences therapeutic response in patients.”

Jonathan Chen is a PhD candidate in Department of Biomedical Engineering at Yale University and currently holds a NSF Graduate Research Fellowship. Chen’s research projects in Professor Rong Fan’s laboratory involve the investigation of molecular correlates of cancer cell drug resistance using a suit of single cell analysis tools. His aims are to work closely at the interface of biology and engineering to analyze the complex cellular heterogeneity in tumor microenvironments and utilize this understanding towards the direction of personalized medicine.

2013 Grant Recipient
Melissa L.Fishel,Ph.D.,Assistant Research Professor at Indiana University,USA.
Application: Tumor Cell Signaling

Melissa-L-Fischel, 2013 ACEA Grant WinnerDr. Melissa L. Fishel is awarded for her grant proposal in utilizing Real-Time Cell Analysis (RTCA) technique to interrogate the signaling between tumor and tumor microenvironment in pancreatic cancer progression and developing resistance. The overall objective of her proposal is to utilize the iCELLigence system to determine the biological effects of modulating APE1’s redox activity in cells that make up the tumor microenvironment in pancreatic cancer i.e. cancer-associated fibroblasts (CAFs) and dorsal root ganglia (DRGs).

Dr. Melissa L. Fishel is an Assistant Research Professor of Pediatrics and Pharmacology & Toxicology at the Indiana University School of Medicine (USA). Her research projects involve investigation of novel combinations of therapeutics to enhance treatment of pediatric, pancreatic and ovarian cancers. From 2001 to 2004, she was a postdoctoral fellow with M. Eileen Dolan at The University of Chicago, where she discovered the connections of multiple DNA repair pathways/ proteins to sensitizing cancer cells to chemotherapy. She obtained her Ph.D. of Biochemistry in 2001 from Indiana University.

2013 Grant Recipient
Isabelle Plante, Ph.D., Assistant Professor at INRS-Institut Armand-Frappier, Canada.
Application: Cancer

Isabelle-Plante, 2012 ACEA Grant WinnerDr. Isabelle Plante is awarded for her grant proposal to help determine the role of myoepithelial cells (MECs) in breast cancer (BC). The mammary gland epithelium is composed of two layers of cells: an inner layer of luminal cells surrounded by an outer layer of MECs. It also encompasses stem cell populations. While it is generally recognized that most tumors arise from luminal or stem cells, the role of MECs in BC is poorly understood. The goal of her proposal is to understand whether MECs can acquire tumorigenic characteristics or act as a barrier inhibiting luminal cancer cells progression.

Dr. Isabelle Plante received her Ph.D. of Biology in 2006. From 2006 to 2011, she was a postdoctoral fellow with Dale W. Laird at Western University, where she showed that decreased intercellular communication results in developmental defects in the mammary gland and enhances breast cancer metastasis. Since 2011, she is an Assistant Professor of Environmental Toxicology at INRS-Institut Armand-Frappier (Canada). Her research aims to further determine the role of cellular interactions in mammary gland organogenesis and in breast cancer, and to understand how environmental pollutants can promote breast cancer.