ISS: Collaborative Research: Interfacial bioprocessing of pharmaceuticals via the Ring-Sheared Drop (RSD) module aboard ISS

Project: Research project

Description

A microgravity environment offers unique capabilities for studying hydrodynamics, including the possibility of containment via surface tension at the macroscale. Containerless liquid systems are of interest for studying protein solutions as they isolate free surface interactions while eliminating the effects of chemical, sorption, and electrostatic interactions of proteins contacting solid walls. The Ring-Sheared Drop (RSD) is a Microgravity Science Glovebox experiment due to launch in July 2019 to the ISS designed to study shearing flow in the absence of solid walls.

We propose to use the RSD module to develop and test predictive models of non-Newtonian flow of high-concentration proteins at the interface. Understanding and controlling protein aggregation in systems with large protein concentration in the presence of free surfaces is presently an Achilles' heel in pharmaceutical manufacturing. This is a result of recent developments in biologics, such as monoclonal antibodies, which are protein molecules used at large concentrations exhibiting non-Newtonian behavior, especially at interfaces. The global market for pharmaceuticals is $155 billion, with the United States holding a sizable portion. The trend in pharmaceutical manufacturing away from large batch processing toward continuous processes will accelerate with improved predictive capability of transport processes, including effects of hydrodynamic and interfacial stresses.
StatusActive
Effective start/end date9/15/198/31/22

Funding

  • National Science Foundation (NSF): $199,994.00

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Pharmaceutical Preparations
Proteins
Microgravity
Hydrodynamics
Non Newtonian flow
Coulomb interactions
Biological Products
Shearing
Surface tension
Sorption
Agglomeration
Monoclonal Antibodies
Molecules
Liquids
Experiments