JINR development won SEZ “Dubna” competition

News, 29 November 2022

A joint development by employees of the Laboratory of High Energy Physics and the Laboratory of Radiation Biology has won the youth competition organized by JINR and the Special Economic Zone “Dubna” in the nomination “Operating construction”. JINR scientists have developed a measuring module and software to analyse the muscular atrophy of small laboratory animals. The new measuring complex is many times cheaper than its analogues. As for its software, it allows recording the values of the device in dynamics.

The project is a measuring complex of the grip strength of rodents’ forelimbs, which is promising for a wide range of studies at LRB and partner centres. Such developments play an importantant role in biomedical research that requires assessment of physical endurance, motor function of mice and rats. For this purpose, scientists use a grip strength test of the fore and hind limbs of small laboratory animals. It allows assessing neuromuscular function while having diseases, neurotoxicity of certain pharmacological agents, deficit of motor function after injuries, physical activity of rodents before and after irradiation.

Irina Eremkina, an engineer of the VBLHEP Department No. 4 Physics on Colliding Beams, presented the project at the competition. “We started working on this project about a year ago. Due to logistical problems and the high cost of equipment, it was impossible to conduct a number of necessary measurements at LRB JINR,” the representative of the project said. “That was how the idea to create our own measuring device for the Laboratory was born.”

The device consists of a metal case with lead weights, a control board, and a joint board with measuring channels and handles. Two strain gauges are used to measure the grip strength. They are made in such a way as to operate under different load ranges, which makes it possible to conduct measurements for both mice and rats. A specially developed software allows specialists to evaluate the measurement results, build graphs of the grip strength measurements in time, as well as save them as a text file for further processing.

Although such devices already exist on the market, the development by JINR scientists has a number of advantages. The cost of the new measuring complex is many times lower than the cost of its analogues. At the same time, its software makes it possible to register values in dynamics. Scientists will be able to use the measuring complex for both mice and rats, while similar devices are aimed at working with only one of these animal species.

In the future, the project members are going to make the complex more mobile, upgrade its software, and patent their invention for possible batch production and implementation of the development. Inventors won a cash reward, which they will use for further development of the complex.

Project team members at the NAUKA0+ Festival, 2021

The open competition of youth projects took place in October and November of this year and united schoolchildren, students, postgraduates, and young scientists. 6 out of 23 projects submitted to it were recognised as the best. The winning teams received cash rewards for practical implementation of their projects.