NIH has awarded Cell Microsystems, founded byBME Joint Dept Chair Dr. Nancy Allbritton Chair, a total of $1.9 million to automate distinct CRISPR workflows using their CellRaft Technology. Cell Microsystems, Inc. is a company based in the Research Triangle Park, which Dr. Allbritton founded back in 2010 with two members of her lab – senior scientist Christopher Sims, MD, and research associate Yuli Wang, PhD. CellRaft AIR™ System is the Company’s automated platform employing an integrated fluorescent microscope to image, sort, and isolate cells or small clonal colonies cultured on the CytoSort™ Array. Culturing viable, single cells after applying guide RNAs, then tracking clonal colony formation and other phenotypes for screening, gives the System tremendous value in CRISPR workflows.
In Phase I grant, the Company will collaborate with William Buchser, PhD, of Washington University in St. Louis to develop pooled CRISPR-mediated genome editing. “The AIR System gives us a great way to edit phenotypically interesting cells and track them for subtle functional changes we can only see under optimized culture conditions. We ran a few proof-of-concept studies with the System and it is going to be an excellent platform for functional genomics experiments.”
Under a separate Phase II grant, the Company will collaborate with two investigators to validate the AIR™ System in core laboratories: William Marzluff, PhD, Kenan Distinguished Professor of Biochemistry and Biophysics at the UNC School of Medicine, and Mike McConnell, PhD, of the University of Virginia. Marzluff said, “The AIR™ System helps us identify a much larger number of viable clones for generating knockout cell lines, and large numbers of cloned cells can be identified and expanded much faster than with other approaches.”
Gary Pace, Cell Microsystems’ CEO, stated “The support from NIH has been invaluable to our development of innovative applications, resulting in rapid adoption of our products by individual PIs, core labs, and pharma companies.” The company will present data using the AIR System for CRISPR applications at several upcoming conferences, including CYTO, ISSCR, and the CSHL Genome Engineering meeting. For the full article, visit UNChealthcare website.