NSF MRI grants awarded to bioengineers
The National Science Foundation has awarded Drs. Bruce Gao and Jiro Nagatomi Major Research Instrumentation (MRI) grants that total $796,056.
According to the NSF, “the MRI program enhances the nation's research infrastructure by providing researchers and students access to state-of-the-art scientific and engineering equipment and instrumentation in environments that integrate research with education.”
Gao’s project, Development of a Laser Microbioparticle Separator, should significantly enhance the capabilities of life-science research. His approach includes a high-speed imaging system for monitoring the single-particle flow and providing a triggering signal for the pre-separation lateralizing laser system; and lateralizing laser system for microfluidic particle separation. The project’s main objective is to develop and build a Laser Microbioparticle Separator (LMS) for label-free, high-throughput particle separation with single-gene-expression resolution. The development team is formed through the Bioengineering Alliance of South Carolina, a structured effort between local institutions to promote biomedical engineering research and education. The particle separator will be placed in the the Biophotonics Lab in Rhodes Research Center.
Nagatomi’s project, Acquisition of a Nano-to-Micro-Scale 3D Live-Cell Imaging System for Biomedical Research and Education, will fill a regional need for biomedical research capability. With this grant, he will acquire an Asylum Research scanning probe microscope and an Olympus spinning disk confocal imaging unit to integrate with an existing epifluorescence microscope at Clemson. The combined instrumentation will permit simultaneous 3D imaging and mechanoelectrical testing of live biological specimens in molecular-, cellular-, and tissue-level research. The Olympus DSU’s spinning disc technology with white light captures clear, continuous, optically cross-sectioned images of live cells and tissues, which are immediately constructed into 3D images. This system will deliver extraordinary live-cell data, including images that combine surface topography and internal 3D structure
Additional funding of $300 million was provided for the MRI program through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), signed into law by President Barack Obama in February 2009. NSF is one of the federal agencies designated to apply ARRA funds to ensuring that America remains a leader in science and engineering research and education.