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Cryo-EM Sample Handling

Award Information
Agency: Department of Energy
Branch: N/A
Contract: DE-SC0020511
Agency Tracking Number: 249414
Amount: $200,000.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Solicitation Topic Code: 28a
Solicitation Number: DE-FOA-0002145
Solicitation Year: 2020
Award Year: 2020
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): 2020-02-18
Award End Date (Contract End Date): 2020-11-17
Small Business Information
5483 Lee Street Unit 12
Lehigh Acres, FL 33971-1516
United States
DUNS: 079106650
HUBZone Owned: No
Woman Owned: Yes
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: No
Principal Investigator
 Lucille Giannuzzi
 (321) 663-3806
Business Contact
 Lucille Giannuzzi
Phone: (321) 663-3806
Research Institution

The Nobel prize in chemistry recently awarded to Dubochet, Frank, and Henderson, for developing cryo-electron microscopy methods for high resolution structure determination in biomolecules is a testament to cryo-electron microscopy’s importance. While cryo-electron microscopy resolution, imaging cameras, and data analysis methods have developed considerably over the years, the preparation and handling of suitable cryogenic thin samples lags. Thus, this proposed work aims in improving cryogenic sample handling. To provide artifact-free cryo-electron microscopy samples, we propose to develop cryo- focused ion beam milled ex situ lift out sample handling and micromanipulation methods. Applying ex situ lift out to manipulate focused ion beam prepared samples will allow a fast, easy, reproducible, and cost-effective method compared to existing focused ion beam techniques. The proposed work will be broken down into 3 major milestones. Milestone 1 is to model heat transfer of proposed sample geometries and manufacture sample handling fixtures needed. Milestone 2 is to test FIB milling methods and geometry necessary for EXLO manipulation. Milestone 3 is to perform EXLO micromanipulation steps and test sample vitrification in an EM. Understanding the structure/property relationships of plant ultrastructure and biomolecules is essential for development of new energy resources, drugs, medical treatments, and treatment of human diseases. Anything that can be done to improve the time and efficiency to results can greatly enhance the human quality of life. Using the proposed methods, we estimate a savings of $100’s - $1,000’s per sample compared to existing sample preparation methods, while improving the time to results from days to hours.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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