NASA SBIR 2003 Solicitation

FORM B - PROPOSAL SUMMARY


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 03- II B2.03-7301
SUBTOPIC TITLE: Understanding and Utilizing Gravitational Effects on Molecular Biology and for Medical Applications
PROPOSAL TITLE: A Novel Microfluidic Device for Fully Automated Extraction of RNA from Cell Cultures

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Shankar Sundram
sxs@cfdrc.com
215 Wynn Dr., 5th Floor
Huntsville, AL 35805-1926
(256)726-4892
U.S. Citizen or Legal Resident: Yes

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (LIMIT 200 WORDS)
Obtaining high quality, intact RNA from cells is an ubiquitous need in the pursuit of space biology. Our overall objective is to develop and commercialize a microfluidics based miniaturized platform (MED-RNA) that can fully automate the complex process of RNA isolation. Starting from harvested whole mammalian cells in a culture medium, MED-RNA will lyse, capture, and isolate RNA content for later analysis, in a fully integrated fashion with minimal user intervention. In addition to higher yields and faster process times, losses and contamination will be minimized as a result of the miniaturization and automation. A novel and unique plastic card based fabrication technology from Micronics Corp. will be leveraged for low-cost microfabrication.

The Phase I study successfully demonstrated concept development and design of three critical aspects of the MED-RNA, (1) on-card reagent based cell lysis, (2) non-toxic electric field driven cell lysis, and (3) RNA capture and elution in a microfluidic extraction chamber. Physical prototypes of the components were fabricated and experimentally demonstrated. During Phase II, we will further optimize the individual component designs. Optimal components, along with necessary valving will be integrated on a plastic, microfluidic lab card. The fully integrated prototype lab card will be demonstrated on chosen cell lines. Further ensuring success, CFDRC has assembled an experienced, multidisciplinary team.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (LIMIT 100 WORDS)
In the commercial sector, we will target users and applications of the developed device in basic pre-clinical/clinical research and the pharmaceutical/drug discovery process. In addition, a valuable by-product of this effort will be a well-validated simulation tool for the development of other microfluidic devices for cellular analysis.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (LIMIT 100 WORDS)
Differential gene expression by RNA profiling is a universal and critical step in space biology experiments, which seek to link specific molecular events with disease phenotypes. Benefits to NASA include advancement in space biology experiments in the ISS and MARS exploration capabilities.