NASA SBIR 02-1 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER:02- B2.03-7965 (For NASA Use Only - Chron: 024034 )
SUBTOPIC TITLE: Understanding and Utilizing Gravitational Effects on Molecular Biology and for Medical Applications
PROPOSAL TITLE: Cytometer on a Chip

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Ciencia, Inc.
111 Roberts Street, Suite K
East Hartford , CT   06108 - 3653
(860 ) 528 - 9737

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Dr. Salvador M. Fernandez
111 Roberts Street, Suite K
East Hartford , CT   06108 - 3653
(860 ) 528 - 9737

The objective of the proposed effort is to develop a novel technology that will provide a unique and powerful alternative to conventional flow cytometry. This new system, which we call a cytometer on a chip will spatially sort cells on a microarray chip based on the presence of specific cell surface receptors or other surface features. Detection and quantitation is accomplished with grating-coupled surface plasmon resonance imaging (GCSPR). This is a label-free detection technology that obviates the need for fluorescent or other types of labels. This feature and the fact that the technology is amenable to miniaturization and consumes very little power, makes the cytometer on a chip system ideally suited to the assessment of immune function in space and to cost-effective, rapid, on site clinical diagnostics. In the Phase I we will evaluate the feasibility of the proposed concept with a lymphocyte model system and we will evaluate the system?s capability to separate cell populations and to distinguish between activation state.

The proposed grating-coupled SPR cytometer presents a number of unique benefits, which should have considerable commercial value. It is not difficult to envision an eventual implementation of the cytometer on a chip with a portable, inexpensive, hand-held device for performing sophisticated immune function profiling on site (e.g., bedside) at very low cost, with immediate results. At the other end of the application spectrum, the chips could be used in high-throughput automated instrumentation for drug discovery research applications. Both of these potential commercial applications represent significant market opportunities.

The proposed effort addresses directly addresses some of highest priorities NASA?s priorities for the cell biology area as stated in A Strategy for Research in Space Biology and Medicine in the New Century. Specifically, it addresses the need for highly automated, miniaturized instrumentation and advanced methodologies for biophysical measurements of cell functions, for quantitative applications of flow cytometry, and for new methods for measurement of immune cell function or other cell surface receptors. It supports NASA?s programs on gravitational effects on cell biology and medical applications.

Form Printed on 09-05-02 10:10