NSF Microarray Grants Awarded April 8 — June 18, 2008
SBIR Phase II: Molecular interaction measurement system: a label-free detection platform. Start date: April 15, 2009. Expires: March 31, 2011. Awarded amount to date: $464,304. Principal investigator: John Bilello. Sponsor: Ridge Diagnostics
Ridge Diagnostics plans to develop a disposable biochip cassette with a cartridge-based fluidic channel capable of removing blood cells. San Diego-based Ridge will also develop specific attachment strategies for antibodies fragments of antibodies that enable the capture of antigens to be used as targets for auto-antibodies. These capabilities will be used with reverse-capture arrays for the identification of auto-antigens against which auto-antibody expression may be used to differentiate between normal and disease states, according to the firm. Ridge also plans to optimize its protein-printing methodology and blocking protocols to enable an optical interference-detection system for its nanostructured protein chips. Ridge plans to test the performance of the platform with a panel consisting of Thyroperoxidase antibody, TSH receptor antibodies, and thyroglobulin antibodies. The panel could used to diagnose an autoimmune thyroid disease and to separate it from other forms of thyroiditis, according to Ridge.
SBIR Phase I: A metal-free surface for label-free array detection. Start date: July 1, 2009. Expires: December 31, 2009. Awarded amount to date: $100,000. Principal investigator: Voula Kodoyianni. Sponsor: GWC Technologies.
Madison, Wis.-based GWC plans to manufacture and test a surface for making label-free protein arrays. Label-free detection is "valued in protein research because alternative methods based on labels can cause experimental artifacts," GWC notes. Current commercial label-free array systems require the use of gold surfaces for array fabrication, though gold has "several limitations, including fragility, a tendency to denature proteins, and limited reusability." In light of these issues, GWC will manufacture a "carbon on metal" substrate for protein arrays.
Efficient signal processing algorithms for inference of gene regulatory networks. Start date: July 1, 2009. Expires: June 30, 2012. Awarded amount to date: $313,175. Principal investigator: Erchin Serpedin. Sponsor: Texas Engineering Experiment Station
The investigators in this project seek to develop "information theoretic tools for efficient inference of causal regulations between gene expressions, and determination of global topologies for gene-regulatory networks." They also will develop a "Bayesian information theoretic framework for inference of gene-regulatory networks based on the integration of a multitude of heterogeneous data sources." A variational Bayes sampling formalism will be built to "overcome the intractable computational complexity and convergence issues associated with the family of Monte-Carlo techniques," according to the authors. Ultimately, the investigators will combine microarray data with prior biological knowledge to uncover "new aspects of the logic that governs the transcriptional control and interactions between genes, proteins and other macromolecules."
SBIR Phase I: Bead-based label-free DNA microarray readout. Start date: July 1, 2009. Expires: December 31, 2009. Awarded amount to date: $99,914. Principal investigator: Jeremy Blitzer. Sponsor: Synergenics
San Francisco's Synergetics is developing a detection system for microarrays using micron-size bead particles that "completely eliminate" the need to label sample material. The purposes of this project include the optimization of the label-free array readout; its testing in "various potential diagnostic applications of DNA microarrays in the field of cancer"; and measuring the compatibility of the label-free readout with commercially-available microarrays. Synergetics believes its label-free microarray system could "greatly simplify the process of measuring gene expression, detecting [SNPs] and mutations, and numerous other potential diagnostic applications of DNA microarrays. "
STTR Phase I: Development and manufacture of multi-functional materials and structures. Start Date: July 1, 2009. Expires: June 30, 2010. Awarded amount to date: $150,000. Principal investigator: Young Noh. Sponsor: Nanoptics
Gainesville, Fla.-based Nanoptics plans to research and develop continuous micro-stereo lithography for the manufacture of plastic-fiber microarray plates. Nanoptics believes the plates will have advantages over existing glass-fiber microarray plates:, making them the "platform of choice for biochips, microtiter plates, micro- and picowell plates, microfluidic arrays and microcapillary arrays." Specifically, the use of special polymers will give the plastic fibers the "highest possible sensitivity." Additionally, the plastic optical fiber arrays will have 0.1-micron position alignment. This submicron alignment capability could be "important as array densities increase and size of fluorescent light sources decrease," Nanoptics said.
SBIR Phase I: Automated identification and rapid detection of explosives using piezoresistive micro- and nano-cantilever arrays. Start date: July 1, 2009. Expires: December 31, 2009. Awarded amount to date: $99,776. Investigator: Weibin Zhu. Sponsor: Picocal
Ann Arbor. Mich.-based Picocal plans to develops an "inexpensive, rugged piezo-resistive micro-cantilever sensor array for explosives and toxins detection with the ability for wireless data transmission." According to Picocal, the sensor will be able to identify analytes by changes in the electronic properties of the sensor material due to analyte absorption or binding. The sensitivities and detection limits of the arrays are "significantly improved by using ultra-compliant coated polymers that show a high degree of sensitivity and selectivity to different explosives." Additionally, ultrathin metallic piezo-resistive sensors will be embedded into the cantilevers to enable both static and dynamic measurements, Picocal said.