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CellField Technologies – CellWell

DRACO Co-Authors Successful $25,000 i6 Bioscience Commercialization Award & $50,000 NSF I-Corp Award

Project Deliverables and Outcomes

Proposal Writing

The CellField Technologies & DRACO Teams co-authored two successful proposals with Dr. Scott Wood where he was awarded a $25,000 South Dakota i6 Bioscience Commercialization Alliance grant in November 2019 and a $50,000 NSF I-Corp grant in June 2020.

Project Management

DRACO continues to coordinate team meetings, facilitate the i6 and I-Corp Team’s internal technical and business commercialization milestones by providing educated insight and connecting with external industry collaborators.


Customer Discovery

Throughout the commercialization process, DRACO is compiling valuable primary customer discovery data, and formulating a comprehensive report for use with investors and future grant funding.

Project Summary

Osteoarthritis (OA), a disease of the articular cartilage, is the most commonly diagnosed form of arthritis. It is a leading cause of disability in the developed world, affecting over 30 million adults in the US alone, with that number expected to increase to 78 million by 2040.A major obstacle in OA research involves growing and maintaining the cartilage cells, chondrocytes, used to understand this disease. When chondrocytes are grown on a flat, 2D surface, they rapidly lose their shape because they have very little cytoskeleton to maintain their roundness. Once they lose their roundness, their phenotype changes, becoming entirely different cells (de-differentiating) within as little as ten days.2

CellField Technologies’ flagship product, CellWell, provides a substrate that cradles individual cells, providing support and maintaining the cell’s naturally spherical shape. With this tool, CellField Technologies believes their product will one day revolutionize the way researchers culture sensitive cells and conduct their translational biomedical research that may ultimately lead to effective treatments for Osteoarthritis and many other diseases.

Project Team

Technical Development Lead- Ram Saraswat

Ram obtained his B.S. in Chemical Engineering from Purdue University in May of 2017 and is pursuing his Ph.D. under the guidance of Dr. Scott Wood in the Nanoscience and Nanoengineering department at the South Dakota School of Mines & Technology. He has compiled an impressive background in biomaterials and applies this towards the development of the CellWell throughout his doctoral work.

Business Development Lead – Thane Hein

Thane is working towards a bachelor’s degree in finance and operational analytics at the University of South Dakota, and applies the skills and experience gained through this program towards the commercialization efforts of CellField Technologies, LLC and the CellWell product. Thane’s knowledge and perspective have greatly aided in the customer discovery, cost analysis, and product placement efforts throughout the CellWell project.

Project Manager – Jevin Meyerink


Project Lead – Eric Sandhurst

  1. CDC www.cdc.gov/arthritis (accessed 12/16/2018).
  2. Darling, E.M. and K.A. Athanasiou, Rapid phenotypic changes in passaged articular chondrocyte subpopulations. J Orthop Res, 2005. 23(2): p. 425-32.