NASA SBIR 2003 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER:03-B2.03-9576 (For NASA Use Only - Chron: 033429)
SUBTOPIC TITLE:Understanding and Utilizing Gravitational Effects on Molecular Biology and for Medical Applications
PROPOSAL TITLE:Microfluidic Analytical Separator for Proteomics

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Space Hardware Optimization Technology Inc
7200 Highway 150
Greenville ,IN 47124 - 9515
(812) 923 - 9591

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Mark   Deuser
7200 Highway 150
Greenville ,IN  47124 -9515
(812) 923 - 9591
U.S. Citizen or Legal Resident: Yes

SHOT proposes an innovative microfluidic device designed to effect a 2-dimensional resolution of a mixture of proteins based on isoelectric point (pI) and molecular weight. A novel approach is proposed to achieve 2-D-gel equivalence. The first dimension is to be immobilized isoelectric focusing, and the second dimension will utilize an array of 100+ size-exclusion chromatography columns in microchannels. Molecular weight is recorded as each protein leaves each microcolumn. The output column number can be translated into pI. Thus each combination of output peak position and column number gives the combined values of pI and MW for each protein in the same way as does a ?spot? on a 2-D electrophoresis gel. Phase I research objectives are to (1) demonstrate the measurement of protein concentration in microchannels using a proposed electrical impedance method (2) construct and test immobiline channels and demonstrate their function in determining pI (3) construct a size-exclusion chromatography channel and demonstrate its function in determining molecular weight, and (4) identify fabrication steps for the integrated ?chip? to be tested in Phase II research. Also in Phase II research the device will be incorporated into an automatically controlled cassette configuration for operation in space flight and in the laboratory.

Protein-expression analysis, to be carried out on the International Space Station, must be automated, miniaturized, gravity-independent and safely contained. The proposed Microfluidic Proteomics Separator fulfills all of these requirements. In its post-Phase II design, the equivalent of several 2-D electrophoresis experiments can take place inside a doubly-or triply-contained notebook-sized cassette. After a specimen has been collected from a life-sciences or biotechnology experiment, the specimen can be transferred by a crew member to a proteomics cassette. The analysis is initiated electronically, and pI and molecular weight data are read out automatically and recorded for the investigator.

In keeping with company practice SHOT intends to make the Proteomics Cassette available for beta trials initially and then to the laboratory public as a high-speed specialized proteomics analyzer. Although there is competition in this marketplace (valued at $2.68 billion by 2008) SHOT intends to develop and introduce a laboratory model and software to the genomics/proteomics research community. Due to its suitability for a disposable format this innovation could prove useful in the medical laboratory setting when clinical proteomics comes of age.