Aurora Flight Sciences won a Small Business Innovative Research grant from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration to help develop a white blood cell counting system for use in orbit.
Working with Cambridge-based Charles Stark Draper Laboratory, the aerospace firm will use Draper’s micro-electro-mechanical systems-based technology to immobilize white blood cell-specific antibodies on small, gold-plated membranes.
The system, dubbed the tongue-tangling “On-Orbit Immuno-based, Label-free, White Blood Cell Counting System with Micro-Electro-Mechanical Technology,” is aimed at providing a miniaturized, lightweight method for counting white blood cells, their sub-groups and lymphocytes in orbit.
Understanding how life in orbit affects the human cardiovascular system will grow even more important as more and more people spend large amounts of time in the nearly gravity-free environment of space, according to Jessica Edmonds, Aurora’s principal investigator on the project.
Aurora, based in Manassas, Va., has its research and development operations in Cambridge.