Current projects

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Instrumentation and sensor development

In situ cytometry
Project Manager/Lead Scientist: Ed DeLong
Lead Engineer: Mark Brown


This is a proposed collaborative project combining the expertise of MBARI with Ger van den Engh, who is developing a simple, novel, and robust submersible cytometer for analyzing plankton. Van den Engh has been involved in flow cytometry and cell sorting since 1975, and has developed and implemented several important breakthroughs and applications in this area. His group currently is developing SUMAC, the Submersible Marine Cytometer. 

This newly proposed device incorporates a novel design, that circumvents complications for in situ deployment that are associated with conventional flow cytometers: the instrument consists of a disc, approximately 2 feet in diameter, with a central flow channel. Seawater flows through the central channel, and suspended particles are illuminated, analyzed and counted. The SUMAC design is suitable for both fluorescence and luminescence measurements. In principle, the submersible marine cytometer (SUMAC) could collect data while descending through a water column, while being towed by a vessel, or when moored to a buoy. The instrument itself is planned for development under NSF funding in 2002 and 2003.

The initial MBARI portion of the work consists of engineering consultation, to assist in the development of pressure housings and connector configurations required for the SUMAC detector and instrumentation. We also plan to provide input with respect to potential implementation scenarios for MBARI science uses. This initial project is planned as a 1 year proposal, to allow for exploration of the collaboration, and to determine the feasibility of deployment of the current SUMAC design on MBARI platforms. If the logistics are favorable, we would plan to propose the adaptation, integration, and implementation of this novel flow cytometer on an MBARI platform in a 2002 Project Proposal.