The function of the Sample Engineering Core is to advance pre-analysis strategies and methods including sample collection, in-field preprocessing, and transportation of samples. The Core will leverage expertise in microfluidic design, rapid prototyping, manufacturing process engineering, and biological assay development to create devices and protocols for each of the three Projects. The Core will perform tasks in close coordination with the three Projects to ensure accurate endpoints when linking to the automated high-throughput analysis instruments, which are becoming increasingly available in university, industry, and clinical testing laboratories.
The first aim of the Sample Engineering Core is to develop a semi-automated device for collection and pre- processing of blood samples, applicable to all of the Projects. Prototypes of the device will be manufactured using advanced 3D printing technology.
The second aim i s to develop in-field pre-processing technologies to stabilize blood samples for transportation while concurrently beginning the analysis process. A method of stabilizing and shipping samples for use with Project 1 and 2 endpoints will utilize vacuum-sealed tubes preloaded with reagents. A paper-based stabilization card will be developed to use with Project 3 endpoints.
The final aim i s to develop an inexpensive, lightweight, battery-powered shipping container capable of precise thermal control during transportation to centralized analysis facilities. This development will allow the micronucleus assay culture for Project 1 to begin immediately following sample acquisition, therefore utilizing shipping time which was formerly wasted. The end result will be faster times to final biodosimetric results.
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