NASA SBIR 2003 Solicitation

FORM B - PROPOSAL SUMMARY


PROPOSAL NUMBER:03-S4.05-8379 (For NASA Use Only - Chron: 034626)
SUBTOPIC TITLE:Astrobiology
PROPOSAL TITLE:Lab-on-a-chip astrobiology analyzer

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Real-Time Analyzers, Inc.
87 Church Street
East Hartford ,CT 06108 - 3728
(860) 528 - 9806

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Stuart   Farquharson
stu@rta.biz
87 Church Street
East Hartford ,CT  06108 -3728
(860) 528 - 9806
U.S. Citizen or Legal Resident: Yes

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (LIMIT 200 WORDS)
The overall goal of this program (through Phase III) is to develop an astrobiology analyzer to measure chemical signatures of life in extraterrestrial settings. The analyzer will employ a lab-on-a-chip to extract biochemical signatures from soil or water samples and surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy to detect and identify the signatures. The goal of the Phase I program is to demonstrate feasibility by separating mixtures of amino acids in SER-active sol-gel capillary columns. This will be accomplished by developing new sol-gels that selectively extract the amino acids from flowing water, while at the same time providing SER activity to identify the amino acids, individually and as a class. The Phase II work will design, build and test the proposed prototype lab-on-a-chip analyzer. This will be accomplished by incorporating the sol-gel coated capillaries into a lab-on-a-chip, and performing chemical separation and Raman signal enhancement sufficiently to identify chemical signatures of life.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (LIMIT 150 WORDS)
The proposed lab-on-a-chip astrobiology analyzer will provide the ability to measure important biosignatures of extraterrestrial life. This will aid NASA in answering several fundamental questions regarding life, such as origin, evolution, and distribution.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (LIMIT 150 WORDS)
The proposed analyzer could be applied to proteomics. It could determine secondary and tertiary protein structures. This information is important to the defining binding sites for new drugs designed to activate or inhibit protein and/or enzyme activity.