Health, Medicine, & Biotechnology

Technique for Reversible Permeabilization of Live Cells for Intracellular Delivery of Quantum Dots

Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center, Houston, Texas Nanomaterials are comparable in size to various biomolecules (1 to 100 nm), and have unique properties such as enhanced electrical conductivity, increased chemical reactivity, and novel optical properties that make them attractive candidates for various biomedical applications. Their comparable size and unique optical properties have been utilized to develop efficient tools for subcellular imaging and delivery of biomolecules. Traditional bimolecular delivery methods utilize plasmids, cationic polymers, lipids, and viruses that have inherent disadvantages such as degradation in physiological solutions, and the need for complex conjugation techniques.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Medical, Biological sciences, Nanomaterials


Introduction of Structural Affinity Handles as a Tool in Selective Nucleic Separations

Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center, Houston, Texas This invention relates to the general field of bio-chemical separations. Current methods for separating nucleic acids either lack sufficient selectivity or large-capacity production as required for gene therapy or DNA vaccines or other applications. There is a need for more selective methods of separating nucleic acids that results in a relatively uncontaminated product in larger volumes and yields than achieved with currently available separation methods.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Medical, Biological sciences


Functionalized Patterning of Tissue Engineering Substrates

Task also includes bioprinting cell-laden constructs for multi-compartment tissue chambers. Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center, Houston, Texas Tissue engineering (TE) is an emerging field for tissue repair and regeneration compared to conventional techniques including autograft and allograft, through engineering functional implants created from living cells. TE is a highly interdisciplinary research area where material science, engineering, and biology are blended to achieve tissue regeneration. Efforts have been made to regenerate liver, skin, bone, and vascular tissues by applying a tissue engineering approach. To generate any type of tissue in a laboratory environment, scientists need to mimic the cellular microenvironment by offering structural, chemical, physical, and biological cues to the cells. Introduction of these cues to the cellular environment starts with manufacturing a supportive matrix called a scaffold.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Medical, Biological sciences, Prostheses and implants, Additive manufacturing, Fabrication


Hearing Test System Suitable for Self-Administered Hearing Assessment

Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center, Houston, Texas Astronauts have developed hearing loss in space, so the goal of this project was to provide a robust, self-administered, accurate noise-tolerance hearing test system for astronauts. The device includes Bekesy-like threshold audiometry, distortion product otoacoustic emission testing, and gap-detection testing.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Medical, Human factors, Noise measurement, Test equipment and instrumentation, Spacecraft


Assessment of Microbial Bioburden Within Aerogel Matrices

A post-capture aerogel degradation via cryogenic grinding is compatible with downstream nucleic-acid-based molecular modes of analysis. NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California A makeshift apparatus has been designed composed of a sealed, hydrophobic 2-propanol/SiO2 aerogel component to filter outside air particles. Following verification and assessment, the apparatus was crafted with a Buchner funnel. Aerogel matrices were tightly fitted into filter housings and secured in side-arm flasks, which were then equipped to a vacuum pump to pull air through the aerogel matrices. Aerogels, both with and without fiberglass reinforcement, were used to collect airborne particulates for one- and three-hour increments. An untreated negative control aerogel, employing air collection from a laminar hood, and a positive aerogel matrix were seeded with endospores that verified the extraction from the matrices.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Medical, Bacteria


Universal Cell-Directed Nanotheranostics

A modified stem cell includes a micro or nano particle-based delivery system. Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center, Houston, Texas The present invention relates to the field of nanotechnology and, more particularly, to the field of delivery of active agents such as therapeutic and/or imaging agents using micro/nanoscale particles. Porous particles, such as porous silicon particles and porous silica particles, have a number of applications including use as drug delivery carriers. A need exists to develop new types of porous particles and new methods of using them for the treatment of diseases such as cancer.

Posted in: Briefs, Medical, Imaging and visualization, Medical, health, and wellness, Nanomaterials


Fluid Preservation System (FPS)

This system can be used by first responders during natural disasters.Biological samples contain labile molecules that deteriorate rapidly ex-vivo. Terrestrially, biological samples are preserved either by freezing them (–80 °C) or by including preservation chemicals. While chemical preservation may be ideal for certain molecules, their functionality is selective and can, while preserving one set of molecules, damage others. Refrigeration poses major logistical challenges of power and logistics. These two options pose major cost and logistics burdens to NASA as they continue to collect biological specimens during flight. Although the International Space Station (ISS) includes a refrigerator to preserve samples, there are no such capabilities aboard return vehicles, especially unmanned vehicles. Furthermore, it should be noted that payloads that are dropped off in remote locations often are recovered after many days, making the biological samples extremely vulnerable to ambient conditions, often rendering them useless.

Posted in: Briefs, Bio-Medical, Medical, Biological sciences, Logistics, Chemicals


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