LightWorks Optics Begins the Second Year of SBIR Research Grant to Develop Breakthrough Technology for Adherent Cell Selection and Isolation

Media Contact

Lisa Belodoff


Tustin, CA – June, 2010 -- LightWorks Optics Inc., the leading provider of precision optical sub- assemblies and systems for the biotechnology, pharmaceutical and medical device industries, has been approved for the second year of funding for a Small Business Innovation Research Grant (SBIR) awarded by the National Institute of Health (NIH).

Funded under the SBIR “Lab to Marketplace” program, LightWorks Optics is working with researchers from University California Irvine, to develop and commercialize a novel technology that integrates micro-device fabrication and superior optical design to enable selection, separation and collection of adherent cells.

A New Standard for Cell Selection and Isolation

“The drawback to current methods of cell isolation is that they often cause damage to the cell’s physiology, resulting in loss of viability,” states LightWorks Optics’ lead scientist and program manager, Dr. Mat Ras. “With our unique technology, one can successfully select and isolate adherent cells without sustaining any cell damage.”

Cell selection and isolation are achieved by culturing adherent cells on polymer micropallets fabricated on a glass surface that facilitates biological imaging. Once an adherent cell of interest is identified (e.g., via morphological analysis or fluorescence microscopy), a laser microbeam is delivered to the miocropallet to release the cell. Once collected the cell can, for example, be subject to genomic / proteomic analysis or cultured to form a monoclonal cell population, enabling a variety of activities connected with understanding cellular behavior and disease progression, as well as evaluation of the effectiveness of potential therapeutic agents.

Advanced Technology with a Cost Advantage

During the second year of the grant project, LightWorks Optics will build the system to commercial specifications and conduct Beta site testing. Designed as a compact, modular, and easy-to-use device that easily attaches to standard biological microscopy platforms, biomedical researchers and pharmaceutical investigators will have access to superior technology at a fraction of the cost―and without having to purchase new microscopy equipment.

“By all indications from feedback gathered during the first year of the research grant, the sustainability of the technology being developed has the potential to revolutionize how researchers can select and study cell populations,” adds Dan Barber, LightWorks Optics CEO.

For more information about LightWorks Optics, Inc., please call 714-247-7175, or visit the new website at

About LightWorks Optics, Inc.

Founded in 1997, LightWorks Optics, Inc. is the leading provider of precision optical subassemblies, systems and component solutions. The company’s award-winning design engineering and production capabilities meet the complex optical needs of customers in the biomedical, medical device, aerospace, defense and commercial industries. The photonic applications may be diverse, but all LightWorks Optics products share a common focus on rapid development, excellent value, and high performance. The company is employee-owned and ISO 9001:2008 certified.

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