Portrait Anja Kunze

Anja Kunze, © MSU Photo by Adrian Sanchez-Gonzalez

Dr. Anja Kunze is an Assistant Professor (Tenure Track) in the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department at Montana State University, where she directs the Neuroengineering Research Laboratory. Being trained as an electrical engineer at the Dresden University of Technology (M. Sc. EE, 2007), she moved to Switzerland to obtain her Ph.D. from the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne in Microsystems and Microelectronics in 2012. Before moving to Montana, she continued her international research journey in the Southern California area at the University of California, Los Angeles.

While at EPFL, Dr. Kunze developed microfluidic based neural cell culture systems, which mimic the cortical cell layer architecture in vitro, and applied these culture systems to biological questions in neurodegenerative diseases (Alzheimer's Disease and Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis) in Philippe Renaud's Lab. During her postdoctoral research at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA, ’12-’15), Dr. Kunze won two postdoctoral fellowships from the Swiss National Science Foundation and the UC Systemwide Bioengineering Award for working on intracellular nanoparticle mediated neuronal cell engineering in collaboration with Dino Di Carlo in the Bioengineering Department, and was appointed in the Department of Mathematics at UCLA as an Assistant Adjunct Professor from 2015 to 2016. Her research interests include micro- and nanotechnology tools, neurodegenerative diseases, tissue engineering and modeling to advance neuro-therapeutics.


We are looking for highly motivated and talented new graduates, undergraduate students and postdocs interested in research at the interface of micro- and nanotechnology and neuroengineering. For inquiries contact Dr. Kunze or checkout the opening or research site.

Contact Information

Office: 509 Cobleigh Hall.
Office Hours: Spring 2018: Mon 4 - 4.50 pm, Wed 3 - 4 pm and after appointment.

Telephone: 406-994-7172
Email: anja.kunze@montana.edu
Research lab webpage: www.anyakunze.com

Research Interests

  • Engineering neuronal network development and neuronal cell morphology, Neurodegenerative diseases (Tauopathies, Alzheimer’s’ disease, Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis), Developmental disorders, Cell polarity, Synapse formation, Vesicle trafficking
  • Engineering in-vivo like bio-microsystems, 2D and 3D cell culture assays, Highly parallelized cell analysis platforms (Microfluidics, BioMEMS), Magnetic field gradients, Magnetic nanoparticles, Biocompatible hydrogels, Biomolecular gradients 


Neuroengineering, Micro- and Nanotechnology, Neuronal cell cultures, Neuro degenerative disease & disorders, BioMEMS, Nanoparticles, Microfluidics, Magnetic devices, Neuro-therapeutics, Biomaterials, Biophysical Modeling

Selected Publications

  • Modulating motility of intracellular vesicles in cortical neurons with nanomagnetic forces on-chip, A. Kunze , C. Murray , C. Godzich , J. Lin , K. Owsley , A. Tay and D. Di Carlo, Lab on a Chip 17, 2017, p. 842–854.
  • The Age of Cortical Neural Networks Affects their Interactions with Nanoparticles, A. Tay, A. Kunze, D. Jun, E. Hoek and D. Di Carlo, Small 12(26), 2016, p. 3559–3567.
  • Induction of Calcium Influx in Cortical Neural Networks by Nanomagnetic Forces, A. Tay*, A. Kunze*, C. Murray and D. Di Carlo, ACS Nano 10(2), 2016, p. 2331-2341, *equally contributed.
  • Engineering cortical neuron polarity with nanomagnets on a chip, A. Kunze, P. Tseng, C. Godzich, C. Murray, A. Caputo, F. E. Schweizer and D. Di Carlo, ACS Nano 9(4), 2015, p. 3664-3676. 
  • Compartmentalized Microfluidics for In Vitro Alzheimer’s Disease Studies, Yufei Ren, A. Kunze and Ph. Renaud , in Microfluidic and Compartmentalized Platforms for Neurobiological Research, Springer New York: 2015; Vol. 103, pp 197-215.
  • Astrocyte neuron co-culture on microchips based on the model of SOD mutation to mimic ALS, A. Kunze, S. Lengacher, E. Dirren, P. Aebischer, P. J. Magistretti, Ph. Renaud, Integr. Biol. 5(7), 2013, p. 964-975.
  • Synergistic NGF/B27 gradients position synapses heterogeneously in 3D micropatterned neural cultures, A. Kunze, A. Valero, D. Zosso and Ph. Renaud, PLoS ONE 6(10): e26187, 2011.
  • Co-pathological connected primary neurons in a microfluidic device for Alzheimer studies, A. Kunze*, R. Meissner*, S. Brando and Ph. Renaud, Biotechnology and Bioengineering 108(9), 2011, p. 2241-2245, *equally contributed.
  • Micropatterning neural cell cultures in 3D with a multi-layered scaffold, A. Kunze, M. Giugliano, A. Valero and Ph. Renaud, Biomaterials 8 (32) 2011, p. 2088-2098.