CAMBRIDGE, MA— Draper recently hosted the Defense Department's Deputy Chief Technology Officer for Science and Technology (S&T), Barbara McQuiston, for a tour of the company’s facilities in Cambridge and a discussion of the company’s efforts to strengthen the United States military’s technological advantage through research, science, technology, engineering and innovation.
McQuiston underscored the value of independent nonprofit engineering organizations like Draper to the nation.
The visit and tour were conducted in support of the Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering’s strategic vision, which identifies outreach across the innovation ecosystem as a key pillar.
Neil Adams, Draper’s vice president of national security and space systems, said, “We are truly honored to host Deputy CTO McQuiston and provide the latest on our programs and capabilities that support national defense and economic security.”
Draper has supported the U.S. military’s mission for more than 75 years.
The meeting focused on Draper’s expertise in biotechnology and included presentations and demonstrations led by Draper’s engineering staff in areas including synthetic biology, microfluidics and organ-on-chip technology. Specific applications of these technologies include:
- An artificial lung technology, commonly known as extracorporeal membrane oxygenation, or ECMO, which is being developed for the U.S. Army to improve access and treatment for patients suffering from acute lung injuries in austere environments.
- Biothreat detection technologies developed for IARPA’s Finding Engineering-Linked Indicators (FELIX) and DARPA’s Detect It with Gene Editing Technologies (DIGET) programs.
- A lung-on-a-chip system in which Draper engineers conducted the first successful SARS-CoV-2 infection and viral replication using a wildtype virus. Applications include developing therapies for chronic pulmonary conditions, acute respiratory infections and toxic exposures to the lung.
Draper’s contributions to national defense extend beyond biotechnology to include the development of inertial guidance systems for ballistic missile applications and space missions; autonomous guidance, navigation & control systems for unmanned underwater vehicles; highly reliable computing systems for undersea, air and space vehicles; miniature electromechanical systems for guided munitions; and biotechnology and biosecurity applications. In each example, Draper developed and advanced the technology, built the first prototypes and conducted field tests and operational demonstrations.