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Macromolecular Crystal Growth by Means of MicrofluidicsWe have performed a feasibility study in which we show that chip-based, microfluidic (LabChip(TM)) technology is suitable for protein crystal growth. This technology allows for accurate and reliable dispensing and mixing of very small volumes while minimizing bubble formation in the crystallization mixture. The amount of (protein) solution remaining after completion of an experiment is minimal, which makes this technique efficient and attractive for use with proteins, which are difficult or expensive to obtain. The nature of LabChip(TM) technology renders it highly amenable to automation. Protein crystals obtained in our initial feasibility studies were of excellent quality as determined by X-ray diffraction. Subsequent to the feasibility study, we designed and produced the first LabChip(TM) device specifically for protein crystallization in batch mode. It can reliably dispense and mix from a range of solution constituents into two independent growth wells. We are currently testing this design to prove its efficacy for protein crystallization optimization experiments. In the near future we will expand our design to incorporate up to 10 growth wells per LabChip(TM) device. Upon completion, additional crystallization techniques such as vapor diffusion and liquid-liquid diffusion will be accommodated. Macromolecular crystallization using microfluidic technology is envisioned as a fully automated system, which will use the 'tele-science' concept of remote operation and will be developed into a research facility for the International Space Station as well as on the ground.
Document ID
Acquisition Source
Marshall Space Flight Center
Document Type
vanderWoerd, Mark
(Universities Space Research Association Huntsville, AL United States)
Ferree, Darren
(Universities Space Research Association Huntsville, AL United States)
Spearing, Scott
(Morgan Research Corp. Huntsville, AL United States)
Monaco, Lisa
(Morgan Research Corp. Huntsville, AL United States)
Molho, Josh
(Caliper Technologies Corp. Mountain View, CA United States)
Spaid, Michael
(Caliper Technologies Corp. Mountain View, CA United States)
Brasseur, Mike
(Caliper Technologies Corp. Mountain View, CA United States)
Curreri, Peter A.
Date Acquired
August 21, 2013
Publication Date
January 1, 2002
Subject Category
Nonmetallic Materials
Meeting Information
Meeting: International Union for Crystallography (IUC)
Location: Geneva
Country: Switzerland
Start Date: August 8, 2002
Sponsors: International Union of Crystallography
Funding Number(s)
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.

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