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Monitoring Radiation-Induced DNA Degradation

Completed Technology Project

Project Introduction

Monitoring Radiation-Induced DNA Degradation
This proposal describes the maturing MEMS (Micro-Electro-Mechanical Systems) Radiation project and its request for access to microgravity conditions through the FAST Program. The project is developing a miniaturized microfluidic (lab-on-a-chip) device that is designed to monitor DNA damage, in real-time, resulting from radiation exposure in space. The instrument under development will ultimately (a) use the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) to amplify DNA, (b) thermally image the micro-device to monitor thermal gradients for proper thermal exposure, and (c) use fluorescent imaging to monitor radiation-induced changes in DNA composition. The proposed parabolic study will evaluate the effects of the microgravity environment on (a) fluid circulation within the microfluidic chip, (b) thermal gradients within the device, and (c) a new prototype camera designed for a nanosatellite implementation of this technology. This MEMS microfluidic system will allow for rapid and continuous genetic analysis of DNA samples in a small package that can be flown on a nanosatellite. The ultimate goal is to help understand the details of radiation exposure in space and potentially serve as a radiation rapid warning device for astronauts. More »

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Project Duration

Technology Maturity (TRL)

Target Destination

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