AI Biosciences proposes to demonstrate the ability of a microgravity-compatible and compact device that automatically processes extracted samples for sequence library preparation inside the ISS. This enables more samples to be analyzed by the Nanopore sequencing system onboard the ISS. The reagents needed for library preparation are pre-filled and stored in a self-contained manner. Our system has a closed system design that will minimize spills/leakages. This compact system will allow previously complicated, labor-intensive, and time-consuming processes to be carried out by a turn-key and closed system with minimal crew-time needed. We have demonstrated on the ground in a laboratory setting that our simple but robust sequential injection delivery tool can perform precise fluid delivery and DNA extraction. We will demonstrate the unit can prepare library preparation with sequencing data quality matching those manually prepared. Professor Chris Mason of Weill Cornell Medicine will validate the library's quality. The device will also undergo drop tower test to demonstrate precise fluidic movement during a brief moment of reduced gravity during drops. Microgravity fluid mechanics expert Mark Weislogel and Ryan Jenson from IRPI, LLC will assist us in the design of the library preparation device and performing drop tower tests.
We propose a platform for safe and automated library preparation in space. Our platform will enable microbial detection and monitoring, epigenetic studies, latent infection detection/diagnostics; pathogen detection for radiation exposure studies; studies on the effect of space flight on microbial gene expression and virulence. Research throughput and quality will be significantly enhanced since more samples and replicates can be performed in space while the rest of the samples can be tested when returned to the ground for further analysis.
The demands for improved healthcare in developing countries will also aid the growth of nucleic sequencing and nucleic acid testing market. There are increased demands for the use of sequencing in remote and low-resource settings. After sample preparation, the library preparation step is a bottle-neck, and our technology offers automated library preparation to enable faster nanopore sequencing.