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BioLock Background
Engineers at NASA Ames Research Center developed the specifications and designs for space-flight approved hardware connecting the animal and plant habitats to the Biological Life Sciences Laboratory experiments glovebox on board Space Station Freedom (now International Space Station).

An innovative sealing and locking interface system assured that pathogens and any other matter contained within the individual, environmentally-controlled habitats and the sealed glovebox remained completely isolated from the laboratory environment throughout the habitat-glovebox connection, operation, and separation phases.

The basic design problem the engineers solved was how to transfer delicate biological contents from one hermetically sealed container into another sealed container without exposing the contents or the internal volume of either container to the external atmosphere during the process. Understanding the problem was challenging and the solution, unique.

The bioisolation glovebox project at Ames was discontinued in 1994, when it was reassigned by NASA to the Japanese Space Agency to develop as part of their contribution to the International Space Station program. None of the glovebox bioisolation R&D performed at Ames was transferred to JSA.

Research shows JSA was unable to develop a bioisolation interface solution that would enable biological and biomedical experiments to be performed at the level of safety originally proposed. The Biological Life Sciences glovebox specifications were subsequently eased to accommodate the capabilities of JSA's glovebox design.

BioLock Current R&D

Upon consideration of the scientific importance of NASA's original bioisolation specifications and objectives yet to be achieved, BioLock LLC was established in 2013 in order to revive development of this valuable technology.

Biolock is focused on the development of new proprietary biocontainment and bioisolation interface technology specifically for non-space biomedical research and pharmaceutical processing applications.

BioLock proposes that its proprietary bioisolation technology will also meet the NASA Astronaut Office original requirements for space-flight biocontainment. Incorporating this technology would restore NASA's capability to perform biomedical and biological life science experiments which previously have not been possible.

Applying BioLock's biocontainment technology in laboratory gloveboxes surmounts the need for a dedicated clean-room facility. Alternately, BioLock's bioisolation system can add a higher level of containment to an existing facility.

BioLock's bioisolation technology also enables the design of a self-contained, integrated laboratory system. This unique system is composed of an adjoining series of separate, bioisolated and environmentally-controlled habitats or modules. The habitats never need to be disconnected from their environmental or life-support systems in order to be transported to the glovebox.

Instead, a traversing bioisolated experiments or aseptic processing glovebox connects to individual habitats in the series. Before connecting, the glovebox internal environment is adjusted to match the specific environment within the individual habitat, thus assuring the condition of a habitat's delicate contents is continuously maintained.

University Supporting R&D

BioLock LLC's own R&D is currently supported by a Miami University (Ohio) Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering Senior Design project. The project team's charter is to improve upon BioLock's design solutions if possible.

MU's project team recently developed an alternative to BioLock's interface sealing system. Their sealing concept is shown in this animation of the glovebox-habitat bioisolation interface operating sequence.

This concept is a precursor to the design and production of a bioisolated glovebox with detachable habitats for Miami University Biochmedical and Bioprocessing studies and experiments.

Details of the project team's achievements will be published on the new website on a dedicated webpage.