Chris Buser Makes Nanotechnology Research Accessible With BioCubic

Buser’s innovation and partnerships level the playing field when it comes to making nanotechnology research more accessible.

Chris Buser Ph.D., an academic scientist and the founder of BioCubic, is working to make atomic force microscopes (AFMs) more accessible and affordable to researchers, entrepreneurs, and students.

“Nanotechnology is everywhere and has a massive impact on our lives, from SARS-CoV-2 and the COVID vaccine, which are both nanoparticles, to DNA-based gene therapy and CRISPR, all biochemical processes in our cells, to the ‘banal’ photo printer paper (also a nanomaterial),” Buser observes.

The cost of the electron microscopes that researchers use to analyze nanoscience research is over $500,000, and most are only accessible in high-end academic facilities. BioCubic analyzes images and findings with the help of the AFMs (“scanning the surface of a sample with a super fine needle” Buser says) built by its strategic partner, AFMWorkshop Inc.

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AFMWorkshop is dedicated to making powerful and affordable AFMs at a fraction of the price. To put it in perspective, the cost of AFMs ranges from $30,000 to $50,000. With help from BioCubic and AFMWorkshop, folks ranging from high school students to startups can now perform nanoscience research for a price point that’s a comparative steal to the aforementioned $500,000 price tag for most electron microscopes.

The Biocubic founder
Chris Buser

Services at BioCubic consist of protocol development and sample screening. For protocol development services, BioCubic will develop the protocols and then dish out the data. Sample scanning can be looked at as a micro photoshoot, where BioCubic will use the samples that are sent in and provide photos.

AFMs at Work

The innovation of AFMs can teach discovery and what Buser refers to as “that’s funny” moments, after the Isaac Asimov quote.

“The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new discoveries, is not ‘Eureka!’ but ‘That’s funny…”
– Isaac Asimov

Buser performed a project, Of Eggshells and Serendipity, where he imaged an eggshell under an AFM. He found that the eggshell membrane was a great test sample for AFMs and laid the foundation for innovative research and education for the nano-world.

From 2022 to 2023, he also participated in the Westchester County’s Biosciences Accelerator (WCBA) program, during which he grew his communication skills, support network of influential people, and confidence in his field of work.

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Growth in Westchester

WCBA was a perfect fit for Buser and BioCubic, as it aims to help first-time founders at any stage in their development. The program is the only competitive-entry bio accelerator and offers a free six months of personalized founder education. Some of the program participant fields and innovations range from AI-backed health management platforms and fertility consultancy to nanoscale biology and more.

Chris Buser at a WCBA roundtable
Chris Buser at a WCBA Roundtable

“We are thrilled to work in Westchester in a community rich in bioscience innovation resources including innovators, foundations, specialty professionals, manufacturing, and world-class pharmaceutical and medical device companies,” says Mary Howard, Program Manager at FirstXFounder, the organization which oversees WCBA. “Westchester County’s commitment to develop a broader ecosystem is paying off. We look forward to continuing to support Westchester’s next generation of business leaders.”

BioCubic’s Future

Looking ahead, Buser continues to absorb readings, attend meetings, and monitor trends in the field of bio/nanoscience. He shared that there is a lot of “missionary work” in the education and academic research fields to show his users that this technology is manageable. He also assists organizations with federal grant writing for technology.

Some of the current and upcoming 2024 milestones for Buser include his continued nanoscience work and partnering with AFMWorkshop, where he has spearheaded the distribution of its AFMs in the life sciences sector and is selling microscopes and services. He has also been invited to participate in a National Science Foundation-funded initiative for use-inspired research.

Buser’s words to aspiring entrepreneurs are, “Everything in life is a trade. Make sure you understand what is being traded and what the consequences are. Ask to be ‘punched’; great mentors are kind and want to help, but they sometimes hesitate to tell you what they really think because they don’t want to offend you.”

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To learn more about BioCubic, visit its website.

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