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Startup Wins $744K NSF Grant to Develop Microscope for Drug Testing

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A $744,066 federal grant will aid further development of a microscope whose ability to detect cellular motion could be of use in testing drugs.

Based on fluorescence imaging and spectroscopy techniques, the biodynamic microscope is being developed by Animated Dynamics Inc. (AniDyn), a Purdue University spinoff.

The two-year, $744,066 Small Business Innovation Research Phase II grant was awarded by the National Science Foundation, which also awarded the company a six-month, Phase I grant in 2014. The new funding will help AniDyn develop a more refined, commercial version of the microscope, said Executive Vice President John J. Turek, who is also a professor of basic medical sciences at Purdue.

"After that, the next steps to develop the microscope will be extensive field testing by beta users," Turek said.

The microscope captures the spectral signatures of cell processes including apoptosis, mitosis, necrosis and organelle transport. This information can be used to assess the effects of molecularly targeted drugs on specific regions of a sample.

"Traditional microscopes magnify small objects," said Purdue physics professor and AniDyn President David D. Nolte. "The biodynamic imaging microscope we are developing will study a cell's phenotype, which is the observable traits that result from how cells in tissues interact with their environment. Studying the phenotype means scientists can see how cell samples behave, mechanically and functionally, in the 3D environment of living tissue."

The 3D capability is important for drug testing because gene and protein expression and cell signaling is altered when cells are cultured on a flat surface, according to the company.

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Photonics Spectra
Nov 2015
BusinessAmericasIndianaPurdue University Animated DynamicsAniDynJohn Turekdavid nolteMicroscopyBiophotonicspharmaceuticalRapidScanlight speed

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