Universal Sample Preparation using Microstructured Arrays with Plasma Lysis

Period of Performance: 12/15/2008 - 08/17/2009


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Microstructure Technologies, Inc.
600 SE Assembly Ave., Bldg. 55 Suite 100
Vancouver, WA 98661
Principal Investigator


DARPA is seeking an universal sample preparation methods for extraction of nucleic acid capable of being used in many different assay systems for subsequent detection. The method needs to produce nucleic acids from spores, viruses, bacteria (or vegetative cells) that are ready for a wide variety of diagnostic equipment. MicroStructure Technologies (MicroST) in conjunction with Oregon Health and Science University (OHSU) has demonstrated a two-step nucleic acid production method. The first step is the efficient retention and selective concentration of biomaterials from liquid or bioaerosol directly onto coated microstructured arrays. After capture of the biomaterials onto the micropillars, the next step is an ionized gas (or plasma) treatment for about a minute to extract nucleic acids. The easy-to-use approach can be automated. The plasma lysates produced have been demonstrated to be ready for PCR without any additional processing. The rapid nucleic acid preparation method consumes few watts for biomaterial collection (from air or liquid) onto the microstructured arrays and plasma lysing. The relevance of this effort is to rapidly provide nucleic acids for biodetector applications in a miniature package with minimal logistics burden. A critical need exists for a universal sample preparation method that relies on little power to produce the nucleic acids for any biodetector.