Separating and detecting Escherichia Coli in a microfluidic thannel [i.e., channel] for urinary tract infection (UTI) applications
In this thesis, I present a lab-on-a-chip (LOC) that can separate and detect Escherichia Coli (E. coli) in simulated urine samples for Urinary Tract Infection (UTI) diagnosis. The LOC consists of two (concentration and sensing) chambers connected in series and an integrated impedance detector. The two-chamber approach is designed to reduce the non-specific absorption of proteins, e.g. albumin, that potentially co-exist with E. coli in urine. I directly separate E. coli K-12 from a urine cocktail in a concentration chamber containing micro-sized magnetic beads (5 µm in diameter) conjugated with anti-E. coli antibodies. The immobilized E. coli are transferred to a sensing chamber for the impedance measurement. The measurement at the concentration chamber suffers from non-specific absorption of albumin on the gold electrode, which may lead to a false positive response. By contrast, the measured impedance at the sensing chamber shows ~60 kÙ impedance change between 6.4x104 and 6.4x105 CFU/mL, covering the threshold of UTI (105 CFU/mL). The sensitivity of the LOC for detecting E. coli is characterized to be at least 3.4x104 CFU/mL. I also characterized the LOC for different age groups and white blood cell spiked samples. These preliminary data show promising potential for application in portable LOC devices for UTI detection.