2018 - 2020
Funded by NIH’s National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS), the aim of this project was to analyze the effects of microgravity and other space-related stressors on the brain blood barrier and gastrointestinal tract using Emulate's Organ-Chips.
Our team developed an automated instrument that ran biological experiments
during launch, travel and station on the International Space Station.
[ My experience sending hardware to space! ]
design and development
how to: lab in a box
From a list of biology requirements, I designed the engineering architecture that supported twelve organ-chips over ten experiment days while fitting within a box the size of a toaster oven. Functionality included pumping at even and low flow rates, valve logic, effluent sampling and storage, temperature control, and telemetry management.
[see patent in biological sampling, media recirculation and pumping]
engineering integration and verification
Integration required careful coordination involving the biology team, Space Tango (external partner), and various vendors. Coordination considered cell seeding schedules, Space Tango's delivery of CubeLab functionality, hardware sterility and infrastructure setup within BL2+ labs, and engineering viability. Executing a fully integrated BioEngineering Verification Test (BioEVT) involved complex forecasting and contingency plans.
Before running a BioEVT and moving into a BL2+ lab involving bunny suits and biosafety cabinets, I ran benchtop verification tests to meet engineering metrics. This involved building assembly protocols, writing experimental software and running non-biology experiments.