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Cell Microsystems Awarded $1.6M NIH Grant for Single Cell Analysis

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – Cell Microsystems announced today that it has received a $1.6 million Phase II Small Business Innovation Research Grant from the National Institutes of Health to automate CRISPR workflows using its CellRaft technology.

As part of the SBIR grant, Cell Microsystems will collaborate with University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill biology professor William Marzluff and University of Virginia assistant biochemistry and molecular genetics professor Mike McConnell to validate the AIR system in their laboratories.  

The firm's AIR system images, sorts, and isolates single cells and colonies. According to a company spokesman, the Phase II program will start in May following the completion of a Phase I grant issued by the NIH in 2017.

Marzluff noted that the AIR system will help his lab identify larger numbers of viable clones for generating knockout cell lines. Meanwhile, McConnell's lab will use the platform to run a pooled CRISPR screen with time-course imaging.

"With the AIR system now in the stem cell core, we can use it for some of the CellRaft applications we've already published in single-cell and single-nucleus sequencing, but we are doing a lot of CRISPR work with it now too," McConnell explained. "It's an easy way to track cells for your phenotype of interest, keep them alive, and then collect the cells you want for downstream molecular analysis."

In a separate $267,000 Phase I grant awarded in January, Cell Microsystems is partnering with with Washington University in St. Louis genetics assistant professor William Buchser to develop pooled CRISPR-mediated genome editing.