NASA SBIR 2003 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 03- II B2.02-8190
SUBTOPIC TITLE: Biological Instrumentation
PROPOSAL TITLE: Murine Automated Urine Sampler (MAUS)

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

This SBIR Phase II effort involves the development of a novel rodent spaceflight habitat, focusing on care and monitoring of mice for gravitational physiology studies. The effort is tightly linked with the Mars Gravity Biosatellite (MGB) program, a university-led initiative developing a partial gravity free-flyer research platform. It leverages both the Murine Automated Urine Sampler (MAUS) accomplished by Payload Systems, Inc. and MIT during Phase I, including demonstrating biochemical preservation of key analytes for up to five weeks, and further hardware design and prototyping conducted under separately-funded MGB activities. MAUS extends earlier NASA and other laboratory waste management and preservation techniques in a novel manner, enabling solid-state storage and quantitative analysis of small animal urine. In Phase II, we will further refine both the hardware and biochemical techniques developed for the MAUS under Phase I, and integrate these elements into a fully-functional Animal Support Module (ASM). Along with the MAUS, the ASM will include air circulation, cage lighting, video collection, food provision, water supply and additive injection, instrumented floor, and contingency euthanasia systems. This Phase II project will result in critical hardware for the MGB program and important innovations for other rodent-based flight and ground research.

A successful Phase II would result in a system design that could be manufactured and ready to operate in ground laboratory facilities. This product would have immediate relevance to terrestrial small rodent research applications. 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 design may evolve into a single ground- and spaceflight-compatible design, or into two separate products.

The proposed system is directly applicable to partial-gravity, hyper-gravity, and ground-base studies, with strong potential for extension to microgravity applications. The system will be compatible with the Mars Gravity Biosatellite, but its key subsystems will also have applications with the Advanced Animal Habitat-Centrifuge (AAH-C) in development for the ISS, and with static and ventilated isolator caging systems in widespread use by ground-base laboratories. This latter market represents a huge arena in which this technology can be applied.