NASA SBIR 2003 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 03-B2.02-8190 (For NASA Use Only - Chron: 034815)
SUBTOPIC TITLE: Biological Instrumentation
PROPOSAL TITLE: Murine Automated Urine Sampler (MAUS)

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
247 Third Street
Cambridge ,MA 02142 - 0000
(617) 868 - 8086

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Joe   Parrish
247 Third Street
Cambridge ,MA  02142 -0000
(617) 868 - 8086
U.S. Citizen or Legal Resident: Yes

This proposal outlines planned development for a low-power, low-mass automated urine sample collection and preservation system for small mammals, capable of long-term operation in an isolated environment. It brings together earlier waste management and preservation techniques from NASA and other laboratory research in a novel manner, enabling solid-state storage and chromatographic analysis of urine for periods of up to 8 weeks. Urinary compounds, particularly those indicative of bone metabolism and protein turnover -- such as calcium, sodium, potassium, 3-methylhistidine, creatinine, corticosterone, histidine, n-telopeptide, hydroxyproline, pyridinoline, and deoxypyridinoline -- are one of the most valuable sources of data for studying musculoskeletal changes over time in response to altered stimuli, including loading environment. Since urine collection is non-invasive and provides a wealth of knowledge, including bone loss, muscle atrophy, and general stress, it is an ideal candidate for automated collection and storage. However, in common laboratory practice, urine samples must be collected, then frozen or analyzed within hours. The development of a urine collection and preservation system for common experimental small mammals will enable fundamental space biology research programs to substantially increase data gathered in the long-term studies planned for the International Space Station and other vehicles.

The MAUS architecture developed in Phase I will be immediately applicable to partial-gravity, hyper-gravity, and ground-based studies, with strong potential for extension to microgravity applications. The system?s key interfaces will be compatible not only with the Mars Gravity Biosatellite Payload Module, but with the Advanced Animal Habitat-Centrifuge (AAH-C) in development for the ISS Centrifuge Accommodation Module (CAM), and with static and ventilated isolator caging systems in widespread use by ground-based laboratories. This latter market represents a huge arena in which the MAUS technology might be applied.

A successful Phase I would result in a MAUS system design which could be manufactured and ready to operate in ground laboratory facilities during Phase II. This product would have immediate relevance to terrestrial small rodent research applications, and since it is designed for ground or spaceflight use, would be readily adaptable to flight experiments as well. As Phase II progresses, the product will be refined for both ground and flight operations; depending on the feedback we receive from our market assessment and contract monitor, and on engineering constraints, the original MAUS design may evolve into a single ground- and spaceflight-compatible design, or into two separate products.