Kinetic River Corp, Mountain View, Calif, a leader in custom flow cytometry instrumentation, has been selected by the University of California, Davis, as a subcontractor on a National Science Foundation research grant. James Chan, PhD, associate professor of pathology and laboratory medicine at UC Davis and principal investigator on the NSF grant, is leading the effort to develop a label-free approach to identifying stem-cell-derived cardiomyocytes (SC-CMs).

SC-CMs are laboratory-grown heart cells that have potential for use in treating patients with heart disease or heart failure, and in screening drug candidates for toxicity. For maximum effectiveness, samples containing SC-CMs must be purified by removing undesired cell types. However, no current purification technique is sufficiently reliable for executing this task.

Chan’s project involves the development of a label-free optical technique to accurately and efficiently identify SC-CMs in flow. The instrument being developed would ultimately enable purification without the use of fluorescent labels.

Chan chose Kinetic River as a collaborator on the project because of the company’s track record in developing microfluidic modules, optical interrogation subsystems, and custom flow cytometers. Kinetic River will support the project by designing and building a custom microfluidic control module for the cell analyzer, and by assisting with optical interrogation architecture and design.

“Collaborating with Professor Chan at UC Davis is a perfect fit for us,” says Giacomo Vacca, PhD, president of Kinetic River. “We have long recognized our common interests in using advanced optical techniques to unlock new capabilities in cell analysis. Working together on this project will give us the opportunity to extend our impact and support an ambitious research program with great clinical potential.”

“This project will benefit significantly from Dr. Vacca’s expertise and knowledge in flow cytometry and single-cell analysis,” says Chan. “In addition, I look forward to learning from Dr. Vacca’s experience in business development and product commercialization, which is aligned with the project’s goal of evaluating the commercial potential of NSF-funded research.”

For further information, visit Kinetic River.

Featured image: Myosin bundles (individual white spots) in a stem-cell-derived cardiomyocyte stand out against the background due to their intrinsic, label-free second-harmonic generation (SHG) signal. Microscopy image courtesy James Chan, PhD, UC Davis.