Microscopy technologies have enabled viewing biological cells; microfluidics combined with smart control systems and advanced bioanalysis will revolutionize it. ACUITYnano leverages advanced control systems, machine vision and microfluidics technologies to meet the critical needs in advanced bioanalysis and regenerative medicine. Our solutions enable integrated cell culturing, analysis and cell isolation by action-at-a-distance electric, fluidic, and magnetic fields on chip. Combined, these technologies are expected to yield a gentle cell sorting platform for a fraction of the cost of current sorters of choice.
Microscale sorting of biological moieties using light
We are developing instrumentation for high-resolution screening and sorting of biological moieties at the microscale. Moieties of interest are those used frequently in biological research and drug discovery, including biological cells and small live organisms (e.g., C. elegans and Zebrafish embryos). The organism C. elegans, for example, is of interest to researchers in the fields of hematology, cardiology, and neurology. Our team is developing an integrated screening and sorting platform that fits on standard laboratory microscopes. The critical need is to make a simple, yet elegant platform for sorting. In this regard, the company proposes to develop a sorting platform based on the use of light.
Specimen mounting system for light-sheet microscopy to monitor complex tissues at single-cell resolution
Lightsheet Microscopy has become an essential tool in Developmental Biology, Cell Biology, Systems Biology and Oncology. Existing commercial 3D microscopy systems for small live invertebrates, in particular, Dual-View Inverted Selective Plane Illumination Microscopy (diSPIM), have enabled damage free, long-term, optical imaging of activity in large numbers of neurons at once in developing animals. ACUITYnano is developing a droplet-based specimen mounting system using droplet-microfluidics and thermalization tailored to diSPIM to accomplish long-term brain circuit imaging of multiple developing C. elegans while perturbing natural animal physiology to an absolute minimum. The system features gentle immobilization during imaging and obstruction free visual access to enable distortion free light sheet microscopy to monitor complex tissues at single-cell resolution.
Nematode (C. elegans) analysis and sorting platform
C. elegans are vital to research in many fields but laborious to handle. Basic evolutionary and developmental biology, genomics and proteomics, and drug discovery all benefit from experiments which exploit C. elegans as a model. However, conventional high throughput analysis and sorting techniques such as flow cytometry are unsuitable for handling large and fragile C. elegans. Manipulating them by hand is slow, subjective, and prone to error.
To overcome these challenges, ACUITYnano is developing a fully automated Nematode (C. elegans) analysis and sorting platform – CASP – enabling high throughput manipulation, high resolution analysis, and high accuracy sorting of C. elegans. CASP uses sophisticated flow control technology to pick individual C. elegans, trap them in place for high resolution imaging, and sort them based on the desired fluorescence, morphology, and behavior. CASP provides unprecedented handling and sorting accuracy and will be available at a significantly lower cost than current approaches.
- Lower cost than existing approaches
- Compatibility with light-sheet microscopy
- Analyze expression patterns
- High throughput, gentle handling
- Easily integrated with high resolution imaging systems
Integrated cell culture systems for growing and monitoring cells on NASA missions
Bones and other tissues continuously degrade in space, challenging humanity on their way to Mars and beyond. Fractures, wounds and soft tissue injuries heal slowly in microgravity conditions, hence there is growing need to find better methods to speed the healing process. With our collaborators are developing integrated cell culture systems for bio-experiments in space, to facilitate the discovery of how cells grow and function.
ACUITYnano is complementing capabilities of disposable cell culture devices to accommodate space-based research for bio-experiments on the International Space Station (ISS). We incorporate smart sensors and data-logging abilities with the cell culture device to allow long term monitoring of critical conditions of stem cell development. With NASA implementation partners we aim to bring into production a unique design, with special accommodations for in-flight maintenance and cargo limitations.
The disposable cell culture system fosters naturally produced physiologic conditions. Instead of attempting to impose “normal” gas conditions on the cells through active incubator control; the system allows cells to maintain their own oxygen, carbon dioxide, and humidity levels.