NASA SBIR 2011 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 11-1 O3.02-8295
PROPOSAL TITLE: Robotic, MEMS-based Multi Utility Sample Preparation Instrument for ISS Biological Workstation

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Microsonics Systems, Inc.
76 Bonaventura Dr.
San Jose, CA 95134 - 2123
(408) 844-4980

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Vibhu Vivek
76 Bonaventura Dr.
San Jose, CA 95134 - 2123
(408) 844-4986

Estimated Technology Readiness Level (TRL) at beginning and end of contract:
Begin: 3
End: 4

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (Limit 2000 characters, approximately 200 words)
This project will develop a multi-functional, automated sample preparation instrument for biological wet-lab workstations on the ISS. The instrument is based on a transducer technology developed by Microsonics Systems; BLU (Bulk Lateral Ultrasonic). BLU works by using a MEMS based transducer, which when excited with RF power generates ultrasonic waves. Since these waves when focused by an Fresnel Annular Sector Actuator (FASA) have a very high level of lateral ultrasonic thrust, the coupling of them into a well causes a lateral mixing vortex. Banks of these transducers are contained in a multi-station, robotic, compact instrument. The instrument utilizes a centrifuge to produce a gravity vector into tubes containing samples which are ultrasonically coupled to the FASA transducer. The electrical energy is inductively coupled into the transducer which generate BLU energy for fluid processing in the sample tube. Samples placed into the instrument will be directed to the proper transducer set (correct BLU power), for 1) cell/tissue lysis, 2) cell fractionation, 3) Sample mixing and compound solubilization 4) DNA shearing for microbiological applications, e.g., PCR, micro array analysis, other analysis (TBD).

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
Sample Preparation for DNA Sequencing – Initially, this application can be accomplished in the micro-gravity/zero gravity environment on the ISS. Eventually, the product can be utilized to identify the basic elements of DNA on non-terrestrial surfaces. DNA sample preparation is required every time DNA is to be sequenced. There are multiple steps involved in the preparation of DNA for sequencing. These steps are typically completed by different instruments from different companies. However, there are a few key basic processes that are necessary, namely lysing, shearing, mixing and heating, all of which can be executed using Microsonics technology. Obviously, the compact requirements of the ISS make the flexibility and dynamic nature of this potential instrument ideal.

More specific applications:
Sample prep for chemical analysis, protein synthesis & protein crystallography, DNA Fragmentation, Cell Lysis, Mixing and Resolubilization of compounds in solutions and Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR)

Simulation of different gravitational environments - Through the modification of the centrifugal forces, all of the sample preparation steps mentioned above can be accomplished while simulating different gravitation environments such as the moon, Mars, Jupiter, etc.

Sonoporation - The device should be able to sonically modify the permeability of the cell plasma membrane. The goal would be to allow the uptake of large particles, such as DNA, into the cell.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
As the target of the Micro-Gravity Sample Preparation System is to provide the research scientists working on the ISS the same capabilities that they would have in a terrestrial laboratory, many of the Non-NASA commercial applications are the same as the NASA applications. While it is clear that when placing the instrument in a terrestrial lab, the same gravitational constraints would not exist, the universal nature of the centrifugal process lends the product to being similarly utilized.

TECHNOLOGY TAXONOMY MAPPING (NASA's technology taxonomy has been developed by the SBIR-STTR program to disseminate awareness of proposed and awarded R/R&D in the agency. It is a listing of over 100 technologies, sorted into broad categories, of interest to NASA.)
Analytical Instruments (Solid, Liquid, Gas, Plasma, Energy; see also Sensors)
Biological (see also Biological Health/Life Support)
Biological Signature (i.e., Signs Of Life)
Biophysical Utilization
Chemical/Environmental (see also Biological Health/Life Support)
Microelectromechanical Systems (MEMS) and smaller

Form Generated on 11-22-11 13:43