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NEWS | April 30, 2019

NRL Technology Transfer Office Awarded 2019 Excellence in Technology Transfer Award

By Gabrielle M. Gibert, U.S. Naval Research Laboratory Public Affairs

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Naval Research Laboratory’s Technology Transfer Office was recognized by the Federal Laboratory Consortium for Excellence in Technology Transfer at the 2019 FLC National Meeting April 24 in Orlando, Florida.

The FLC’s Excellence in Technology Transfer Award is presented annually to federal employees who have accomplished outstanding work in the process of transferring federally developed technology. This year’s award identifies 30 recipients from 27 different laboratories. NRL’s transferred technology is the Laser Analysis and Sorting Instrument (LASI), a Navy-patented device and method of using lasers to separate and characterize particles in fluids.

Spearheading this transfer was the current head of NRL’s Technology Transfer Office, Amanda Horansky McKinney, and her predecessor, Dr. Rita Manak.

“The partnership that led to the transfer of LASI to LumaCyte, LLC., shows the best of what technology transfer is capable of,” McKinney said. “The use of a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement enables NRL scientists to work directly with the company to transfer expertise and capability, and a license enables commercialization of the patented technology.”

Navy researchers initially developed the LASI technology to meet the need for more rapid diagnostic solutions that identify biowarfare threats to U.S. military personnel. This technology could prove beneficial to research and development programs in vaccine and drug discovery, cell therapy, infectious disease, and cancer diagnostics and treatment.

Inspired by the need for sensitive, selective, automated and cost-effective clinical and research instruments that can sort cell streams for the detection of pathogens and disease, the LASI technology utilizes a combination of advanced optics and microfluidics to help researchers characterize and sort individual cells.

LASI has the noteworthy feature of not requiring the addition of antibody or genetic labels typically used to tag cells pre-assay. This is a significant advance over similar instrument technologies. By eliminating the need to use specific antibodies for cell labelling, LASI reduces sample preparation time and lowers cost per test.

“Technology transfer enables us at the federal labs to provide the opportunity for the warfighter to have access to such capabilities at a lower cost,” McKinney said. “It also provides unique technologies and expertise that aren’t available anywhere else to businesses looking to provide products and services to the public.”

The LASI technology, patented by Dr. Sean J. Hart, Dr. Colin G. Hebert and Alex Terray of NRL’s Chemistry Division, was transferred to LumaCyte, LLC., in March 2014. LumaCyte, LLC., commercialized the technology to launch their RadianceTM system that allows users to identify new or changed cell phenotypes in the absence of antibody based labeling.

About the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory

NRL is a scientific and engineering command dedicated to research that drives innovative advances for the Navy and Marine Corps from the seafloor to space and in the information domain. NRL headquarters is located in Washington, D.C., with major field sites in Stennis Space Center, Mississippi, Key West, Florida, and Monterey, California, and employs approximately 2,500 civilian scientists, engineers and support personnel.

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