Portrait Anja Kunze

Anja Kunze, © MSU Photo by Adrian Sanchez-Gonzalez

Dr. Anja Kunze is an Associate Professor 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 TU Dresden, Germany (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. 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. In 2019, Dr. Kunze received the NSF CAREER award for her research about modulating calcium communication in neurons with nanomagnetic forces and engineered network patterns. Further research interests include micro- and nanotechnology tools, bioelectronics, BioMEMs, neurodegenerative diseases, tissue engineering and mathematical modeling to advance neuro-therapeutics.


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

Contact Information

Office: COBH 509
Office Hours: M, W, F: after appointment only.

Telephone: 406-994-7172
Email: [email protected]

Teaching interests

Bioelectronics, Bio Micro Electro Mechanical Systems (BioMEMS), Digital Logic, Logic Circuits, Micro- & Nanofabrication, Neuroengineering, Mathematical Modeling, Bioengineering


Research projects in the Kunze Lab live at the interface between micro- and nano-engineered tools and neuroscience with the scope of understanding the role and function of the brain microstructure in healthy brains and during the progression of neurodegenerative diseases. If you are interested in these areas as a highly motivated and talented new graduate, undergraduate student or postdocs contact Dr. Kunze or checkout the research site.

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 

Selected Publications

  • Multi-curvature micropatterns unveil distinct calcium and mitochondrial dynamics in neuronal networks. H. Khan, C.L. Beck, and A. Kunze, Lab on a Chip, 21, 2021, p. 1164 - 1174. https://doi.org/10.1039/D0LC01205J
  • Low-cost calcium fluorometry for long-term nanoparticle studies in living cells, Beck, C. L., Hickman, C. J., Kunze, A. 2020, Scientific reports: v. 10 i. 1 p. 1-11. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-020-69412-1
  • Neural network growth under heterogeneous magnetic gradient patterns, D. Judge and A. Kunze, In: Proceedings of the 9th International IEEE/EMBS Conference on Neural Engineering (NER), San Francisco, CA, USA, 2019, pp. 191-194. DOI: 10.1109/NER.2019.8716902
  • Force-Mediating Magnetic Nanoparticles to Engineer Neuronal Cell Function, T. Gahl and A. Kunze, Front. Neurosci. 12:299, 2018, p. 1-16. DOI: 10.3389/fnins.2018.00299 
  • 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. DOI:10.1039/c6lc01349j
  • 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.