Matching Items (41)

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In Cell Western Blotting for Quantifying Protein Expression in 3D Tumor-Stroma Microfluidic Device

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After more than 40 years since the signing of the National Cancer Act in 1970, cancer remains a formidable challenge. Cancer is currently the second most common cause of death in the United States, and worldwide cancer cases are projected

After more than 40 years since the signing of the National Cancer Act in 1970, cancer remains a formidable challenge. Cancer is currently the second most common cause of death in the United States, and worldwide cancer cases are projected to rise 50% between 2012 and 2030 [1-2]. While researchers have dramatically expanded our understanding of the biology of cancer, they have also revealed the staggering complexity and difficulty of developing successful treatments for the disease. More complex assays involving three dimensional cell culture offer the potential to model complex interactions, such as those involving the extracellular matrix (ECM), chemical concentration gradients, and the impact of vascularization of a tissue mass. Modern cancer assays thus promise to be both more accurate and more complex than previous models. One promising newly developed type of assay is microfluidics. Microfluidic devices consist of a silicone polymer stamp bonded to a glass slide. The stamp is patterned to produce a network of channels for cell culture. These devices allow manipulation of liquids on a sub-millimeter level, allowing researchers to produce a tightly controlled 3D microenvironment for cell culture. Our lab previously developed a microfluidic device to measure cancer cell invasion in response to a variety of signals and conditions. The small volume associated with microfluidics offers a number of advantages, but simultaneously make it impractical to use certain traditional cell analysis procedures, such as Western Blotting. As a result, measuring protein expression of cells in the microfluidic device was a continuing challenge. In order to expand the utility of microfluidic devices, it was therefore very enticing to develop a means of measuring protein expression inside the device. One possible solution was identified in the technique of In-Cell-Western blotting (ICW). ICW consists of using infrared-fluorescently stained antibodies to stain a protein of interest. This signal is measured using an infrared laser scanner, producing images that can be analyzed to quantitatively measure protein expression. ICW has been well validated in traditional 2D plate culture conditions, but has not been applied in conjunction with microfluidic devices. This project worked to evaluate In-Cell-Western blotting for use in microfluidic devices as a method of quantifying protein expression in situ.

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2018-05

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In Situ RNA Expression Analysis Using Two-Photon Laser Lysis (2PLL) and Microfluidic RT-qPCR

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A major goal of the Center for Biosignatures Discovery Automation (CBDA) is to design a diagnostic tool that detects novel cancer biosignatures at the single-cell level. We designed the Single-cell QUantitative In situ Reverse Transcription-Polymerase Chain Reaction (SQUIRT-PCR) system

A major goal of the Center for Biosignatures Discovery Automation (CBDA) is to design a diagnostic tool that detects novel cancer biosignatures at the single-cell level. We designed the Single-cell QUantitative In situ Reverse Transcription-Polymerase Chain Reaction (SQUIRT-PCR) system by combining a two-photon laser lysis (2PLL) system with a microfluidic reverse transcriptase-quantitative polymerase chain reaction (RT-qPCR) platform. It is important to identify early molecular changes from intact tissues as prognosis for premalignant conditions and develop new molecular targets for prevention of cancer progression and improved therapies. This project analyzes RNA expression at the single-cell level and presents itself with two major challenges: (1) detecting low levels of RNA and (2) minimizing RNA absorption in the polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) microfluidic channel. The first challenge was overcome by successfully detecting picogram (pg) levels of RNA using the Fluidigm (FD) BioMark™ HD System (Fluidigm Corporation, South San Francisco, CA) for RT-qPCR analysis. This technology incorporates a highly precise integrated fluidic circuit (IFC) that allows for high-throughput genetic screening using microarrays. The second challenge entailed collecting data from RNA flow-through samples that were passed through microfluidic channels. One channel was treated with a coating of polyethylene glycol (PEG) and the other remained untreated. Various flow-through samples were subjected to RT-qPCR and analyzed using the FD FLEXsix™ Gene Expression IFC. As predicted, the results showed that the treated PDMS channel absorbed less RNA than the untreated PDMS channel. Once the optimization of the PDMS microfluidic platform is complete, it will be implemented into the 2PLL system. This novel technology will be able to identify cell populations in situ and could have a large impact on cancer diagnostics.

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2014-05

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The Focusing of Proteins Using Dielectrophoresis in an Improved Microfluidic Device

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Dielectrophoresis is a separations strategy that has the potential to separate small amounts of different proteins from each other. The forces at play in the channel used for dielectrophoresis are electroosmotic flow (EOF), electrophoresis (EP), and dielectrophoresis (DEP). EOF is

Dielectrophoresis is a separations strategy that has the potential to separate small amounts of different proteins from each other. The forces at play in the channel used for dielectrophoresis are electroosmotic flow (EOF), electrophoresis (EP), and dielectrophoresis (DEP). EOF is the force exerted on liquid from an applied potential (1). EP is the force exerted on charged particles in a uniform electric field (2). DEP is the force exerted on particles (charged and uncharged) in a non-uniform electric field (3). This experiment was focused on the testing of a new microfluidic device to see if it could improve the focusing of proteins in dielectrophoresis. It was predicted that the addition of a salt bridge would improve focusing by preventing the ions created by the electrolysis of water around the electrodes from interacting with the proteins and causing aggregation, among other problems. Control trials using the old device showed that electrolysis was likely occurring and was the causal agent for poor outcomes. After applying the electric potential for some time a pH front traveled through the channel causing aggregation of proteins and the current in the channel decreased rapidly, even while the voltage was held constant. The resistance in the channels of the control trials also slightly decreased over time, until the pH shift occurred, at which time it increased rapidly. Experimental trials with a new device that included salt bridges eliminated this pH front and had a roughly linear increase of current in the channel with the voltage applied. This device can now be used in future research with protein dielectrophoresis, including in the potential differentiation of different proteins. References: 1) Electroosmosis. Oxford Dictionary of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. 2. Oxford University Press: Oxford, England. 2006. 2) Electrophoresis. Oxford Dictionary of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. 2. Oxford University Press: Oxford, England. 2006. 3) Dielectrophoresis. Oxford Dictionary of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. 2. Oxford University Press: Oxford, England. 2006.

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2016-05

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Numerical Modeling of Hydrodynamic Flow Focusing in a Microfluidic Device for Time-Resolved Serial Crystallography

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Serial femtosecond crystallography (SFX) with an X-ray free-electron laser (XFEL) has enabled the determination of protein structures and protein reaction intermediates in millisecond to microsecond time resolutions. Mix-and-Inject crystallography (MISC) at XFELs enables fast mixing in the magnitude of milliseconds

Serial femtosecond crystallography (SFX) with an X-ray free-electron laser (XFEL) has enabled the determination of protein structures and protein reaction intermediates in millisecond to microsecond time resolutions. Mix-and-Inject crystallography (MISC) at XFELs enables fast mixing in the magnitude of milliseconds in order to achieve desired reaction time points. For these experiments, numerical simulations of a hydrodynamic flow mixer capable of fast mixing by diffusion has been developed using both COMSOL Multiphysics 5.6 and QuickerSims Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) Toolbox for MATLAB. These simulation programs were compared by calculations of mixing times and concentration flow profiles. Mixing times in the range of 1-10 ms were calculated in COMSOL under certain flow rate conditions whereas mixing times in the range of 6-15 ms were calculated with QuickerSims. From these mixing times, reaction intermediates can be varied from sub-millisecond to several hundred millisecond time points for a MISC experiment. Explanations for the discrepancies between the two models were attributed to variations in parameter definitions and meshing. Further analysis on the mixing characteristics were investigated by calculating an analytical solution to the convection-diffusion equation for fluid flow in a two-dimensional rectangular channel. The concentration profile along the width of the channel for the analytical solution was compared with the numerical solution obtained with COMSOL and QuickerSims. Upon comparison, it was determined that the diffusion coefficient may not be a significant factor for the disagreement between the two hydrodynamic flow models.

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2021-05

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Small molecule detection by surface plasmon resonance: improvements in sensitivity and kinetic measurement

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Surface plasmon resonance (SPR) has emerged as a popular technique for elucidating subtle signals from biological events in a label-free, high throughput environment. The efficacy of conventional SPR sensors, whose signals are mass-sensitive, diminishes rapidly with the size of the

Surface plasmon resonance (SPR) has emerged as a popular technique for elucidating subtle signals from biological events in a label-free, high throughput environment. The efficacy of conventional SPR sensors, whose signals are mass-sensitive, diminishes rapidly with the size of the observed target molecules. The following work advances the current SPR sensor paradigm for the purpose of small molecule detection. The detection limits of two orthogonal components of SPR measurement are targeted: speed and sensitivity. In the context of this report, speed refers to the dynamic range of measured kinetic rate constants, while sensitivity refers to the target molecule mass limitation of conventional SPR measurement. A simple device for high-speed microfluidic delivery of liquid samples to a sensor surface is presented to address the temporal limitations of conventional SPR measurement. The time scale of buffer/sample switching is on the order of milliseconds, thereby minimizing the opportunity for sample plug dispersion. The high rates of mass transport to and from the central microfluidic sensing region allow for SPR-based kinetic analysis of binding events with dissociation rate constants (kd) up to 130 s-1. The required sample volume is only 1 μL, allowing for minimal sample consumption during high-speed kinetic binding measurement. Charge-based detection of small molecules is demonstrated by plasmonic-based electrochemical impedance microscopy (P-EIM). The dependence of surface plasmon resonance (SPR) on surface charge density is used to detect small molecules (60-120 Da) printed on a dextran-modified sensor surface. The SPR response to an applied ac potential is a function of the surface charge density. This optical signal is comprised of a dc and an ac component, and is measured with high spatial resolution. The amplitude and phase of local surface impedance is provided by the ac component. The phase signal of the small molecules is a function of their charge status, which is manipulated by the pH of a solution. This technique is used to detect and distinguish small molecules based on their charge status, thereby circumventing the mass limitation (~100 Da) of conventional SPR measurement.

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2013

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Low power, high throughput continuous flow PCR instruments for environmental applications

Description

Continuous monitoring in the adequate temporal and spatial scale is necessary for a better understanding of environmental variations. But field deployments of molecular biological analysis platforms in that scale are currently hindered because of issues with power, throughput and automation.

Continuous monitoring in the adequate temporal and spatial scale is necessary for a better understanding of environmental variations. But field deployments of molecular biological analysis platforms in that scale are currently hindered because of issues with power, throughput and automation. Currently, such analysis is performed by the collection of large sample volumes from over a wide area and transporting them to laboratory testing facilities, which fail to provide any real-time information. This dissertation evaluates the systems currently utilized for in-situ field analyses and the issues hampering the successful deployment of such bioanalytial instruments for environmental applications. The design and development of high throughput, low power, and autonomous Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) instruments, amenable for portable field operations capable of providing quantitative results is presented here as part of this dissertation. A number of novel innovations have been reported here as part of this work in microfluidic design, PCR thermocycler design, optical design and systems integration. Emulsion microfluidics in conjunction with fluorinated oils and Teflon tubing have been used for the fluidic module that reduces cross-contamination eliminating the need for disposable components or constant cleaning. A cylindrical heater has been designed with the tubing wrapped around fixed temperature zones enabling continuous operation. Fluorescence excitation and detection have been achieved by using a light emitting diode (LED) as the excitation source and a photomultiplier tube (PMT) as the detector. Real-time quantitative PCR results were obtained by using multi-channel fluorescence excitation and detection using LED, optical fibers and a 64-channel multi-anode PMT for measuring continuous real-time fluorescence. The instrument was evaluated by comparing the results obtained with those obtained from a commercial instrument and found to be comparable. To further improve the design and enhance its field portability, this dissertation also presents a framework for the instrumentation necessary for a portable digital PCR platform to achieve higher throughputs with lower power. Both systems were designed such that it can easily couple with any upstream platform capable of providing nucleic acid for analysis using standard fluidic connections. Consequently, these instruments can be used not only in environmental applications, but portable diagnostics applications as well.

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2013

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Determining GPNMB Abundance Effects on Breast Cancer-Stroma Interactions

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Tumor-stroma interactions significantly influence cancer cell metastasis and disease progression. These interactions partly comprise crosstalk between tumor and stromal fibroblasts, but the key molecular mechanisms within the crosstalk governing cancer invasion are still unclear. Here we develop a 3D in

Tumor-stroma interactions significantly influence cancer cell metastasis and disease progression. These interactions partly comprise crosstalk between tumor and stromal fibroblasts, but the key molecular mechanisms within the crosstalk governing cancer invasion are still unclear. Here we develop a 3D in vitro organotypic microfluidic to model tumor-stroma interaction by mimicking the spatial organization of the tumor microenvironment on a chip. We co-culture breast cancer and patient-derived fibroblast cells in 3D tumor and stroma regions respectively and combine functional assessments, including cancer cell migration, with transcriptome profiling to unveil the molecular influence of tumor-stroma crosstalk on invasion. This led to the observation that cancer associated fibroblasts enhanced invasion in 3D by inducing the expression of a novel gene of interest, GPNMB, in breast cancer cells resulting in increased migration speed. Importantly, knockdown of GPNMB blunted the influence of CAFs on enhancing cancer invasion. Overall, these results demonstrate the ability of our model to recapitulate patient specific tumor microenvironment to investigate cellular and molecular consequences of tumor-stroma interactions.

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2019-05

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Temperature Measurement In Microfluidic Devics

Description

Microfluidics is an expanding research area for analytical chemistry and the biomedical industry. Microfludic devices have been used for protein and DNA sorting, early detection techniques for cancer and other disease, and a variety of other analytical techniques. Dielectrophoresis is

Microfluidics is an expanding research area for analytical chemistry and the biomedical industry. Microfludic devices have been used for protein and DNA sorting, early detection techniques for cancer and other disease, and a variety of other analytical techniques. Dielectrophoresis is a technique is often used to control particles within microfluidic devices however the non-uniform electric field can affect the interior of the device. In order to expand the applications of microfluidic devices and to make it easier to work with techniques such as dielectrophoresis, it is essential to understand as much as possible about how the internal environment of the device will affect the sample. A significant part of this is being able to non-invasively determine the temperature inside the microfluidic device in the both the channel and reservoir regions. Several other research group have successfully used temperature sensitive dyes and fluorescence to measure the temperature within microfluidic devices so research began with understanding their techniques and trying to optimize them for the chosen microfluidic channel. Results from calibration and reservoir tests show that there is a linear relationship between the temperature of the channel and the ratio between the dyes Rhodamine 110 and Rhodamine B. Results within the channel showed that the calibration may be difficult to apply directly as absorption from the PDMS continues to be a problem but several coatings can be used to improve the results.

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2013-12

Insulator-based dielectrophoretic manipulation of DNA in a microfluidic device

Description

DNA and DNA nanoassemblies such as DNA origamis have large potential in biosensing, drug delivery, nanoelectronic circuits, and biological computing requiring suitable methods for migration and precise positioning. Insulator-based dielectrophoresis (iDEP) provides an efficient and matrix-free approach for manipulation of

DNA and DNA nanoassemblies such as DNA origamis have large potential in biosensing, drug delivery, nanoelectronic circuits, and biological computing requiring suitable methods for migration and precise positioning. Insulator-based dielectrophoresis (iDEP) provides an efficient and matrix-free approach for manipulation of micro-and nanometer-sized objects. In order to exploit iDEP for naturally formed DNA and DNA nanoassemblies, a detailed understanding of the underlying polarization and dielectrophoretic migration is essential. The shape and the counterion distribution are considered two essential factors in the polarization mechanism. Here, the dielectrophoretic behavior of 6-helix bundle (6HxB) and triangle DNA origamis with identical sequences but substantial topological differences was explored. The polarizability models were discussed for the two species according to their structural difference. The experimental observations reveal distinct iDEP trapping behavior in low frequency AC electric fields in addition to numerical simulations showing a considerable contribution of the electrophoretic transport of the DNA origami species in the DEP trapping regions. Furthermore, the polarizabilities of the two species were determined by measuring the migration times through a potential landscape exhibiting dielectrophoretic barriers. The resulting migration times correlate to the depth of the dielectrophoretic potential barrier and the escape characteristics of the DNA origamis according to an adapted Kramer’s rate model. The orientations of both species in the escape process were studied. Finally, to study the counterion distribution around the DNA molecules, both λ-DNA and 6HxB DNA were used in a phosphate buffer containing magnesium, revealing distinctive negative dielectrophoretic trapping behavior as opposed to positive trapping in a sodium/potassium phosphate buffer system.

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Date Created
2015

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A chip for hydrodynamic microvortical rotation of live single cells

Description

Single cell analysis has become increasingly important in understanding disease onset, progression, treatment and prognosis, especially when applied to cancer where cellular responses are highly heterogeneous. Through the advent of single cell computerized tomography (Cell-CT), researchers and clinicians now have

Single cell analysis has become increasingly important in understanding disease onset, progression, treatment and prognosis, especially when applied to cancer where cellular responses are highly heterogeneous. Through the advent of single cell computerized tomography (Cell-CT), researchers and clinicians now have the ability to obtain high resolution three-dimensional (3D) reconstructions of single cells. Yet to date, no live-cell compatible version of the technology exists. In this thesis, a microfluidic chip with the ability to rotate live single cells in hydrodynamic microvortices about an axis parallel to the optical focal plane has been demonstrated. The chip utilizes a novel 3D microchamber design arranged beneath a main channel creating flow detachment into the chamber, producing recirculating flow conditions. Single cells are flowed through the main channel, held in the center of the microvortex by an optical trap, and rotated by the forces induced by the recirculating fluid flow. Computational fluid dynamics (CFD) was employed to optimize the geometry of the microchamber. Two methods for the fabrication of the 3D microchamber were devised: anisotropic etching of silicon and backside diffuser photolithography (BDPL). First, the optimization of the silicon etching conditions was demonstrated through design of experiment (DOE). In addition, a non-conventional method of soft-lithography was demonstrated which incorporates the use of two positive molds, one of the main channel and the other of the microchambers, compressed together during replication to produce a single ultra-thin (<200 µm) negative used for device assembly. Second, methods for using thick negative photoresists such as SU-8 with BDPL have been developed which include a new simple and effective method for promoting the adhesion of SU-8 to glass. An assembly method that bonds two individual ultra-thin (<100 µm) replications of the channel and the microfeatures has also been demonstrated. Finally, a pressure driven pumping system with nanoliter per minute flow rate regulation, sub-second response times, and < 3% flow variability has been designed and characterized. The fabrication and assembly of this device is inexpensive and utilizes simple variants of conventional microfluidic fabrication techniques, making it easily accessible to the single cell analysis community.

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2012