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SBIR Phase I: Biomolecular Cell Injection With Nanofountain Probe Systems

Award Information

National Science Foundation
Award ID:
Program Year/Program:
2012 / SBIR
Agency Tracking Number:
Solicitation Year:
Solicitation Topic Code:
Solicitation Number:
Small Business Information
559 Arbor Vitae Road Winnetka, IL 60093-2301
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Woman-Owned: No
Minority-Owned: No
HUBZone-Owned: No
Phase 1
Fiscal Year: 2012
Title: SBIR Phase I: Biomolecular Cell Injection With Nanofountain Probe Systems
Agency: NSF
Contract: 1142562
Award Amount: $149,137.00


This Small Business Innovation Research Phase I project aims at developing and commercializing a cost-effective cell injection system based on nanofountain probe (NFP) technology. The NFP has been recently used to investigate drug delivery and direct cell injection. Benefits of this method include easy integration with existing infrastructure, force control of injection, and the ability to control injection volumes at the picoliter level. Injection of large number of cells is necessary for drug discovery and associated large scale genomic and proteomic studies. Such studies require delivery of drugs, conjugated nanoparticles, DNA, siRNA, and proteins into living cells to study spatial and temporal molecular regulatory mechanisms within the cell. Considering the delicate nature of living cells, such a task is nontrivial. For direct drug delivery, micropipette based injection has been used for many years. However, its viability (cell survival) and lack of automation limit its broad use. In this project, a single cell injection system will be developed based on leveraging probe-cell force control and fluidic handling capabilities of NFPs. The system has the potential for parallel cell injection and ultimately automated operation, which would greatly enhance viability as a workhorse tool for cell injection in research labs and pharmaceutical companies. The broader impact/commercial potential of this project is the development of a new platform for high throughput single cell drug delivery, allowing for efficient evaluation of drug efficacy and the development of diagnostics and next generation therapeutics. The application of nanotechnology to medicine (termed nanomedicine) has provided numerous emerging opportunities in healthcare, particularly given the increasing demand for in vitro toxicology and diagnostics as a pathway towards "personalized medicine". Drug delivery to individual cells and monitoring of associated pathways is at the core of most research toward in vitro diagnostics and toxicology. Personalized medicine will require the systematic incorporation of genetic information from individuals in optimizing preventive and therapeutic care, and much more efficient biomedical tools. Commercialization of this platform would allow research centers and pharmaceutical companies to have access to state-of-the-art nanotechnology tools in their endeavor toward a patient-centered health care system. Furthermore, the new single cell injection system will find utility in laboratories in universities across the U.S., exposing the next generation of scientists to nanotechnology and its impact on medicine.

Principal Investigator:

Allison Beese

Business Contact:

Allison Beese
Small Business Information at Submission:

559 Arbor Vitae Road Winnetka, IL 60093-2301

EIN/Tax ID: 273269818
Number of Employees:
Woman-Owned: No
Minority-Owned: No
HUBZone-Owned: No