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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

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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Foundational investigation of electrophoretic exclusion

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Electrophoretic exclusion is a counter-flow gradient focusing method that simultaneously separates and concentrates electrokinetic material at a channel entrance utilizing electric and fluid velocity fields. However, its effectiveness is heavily

Electrophoretic exclusion is a counter-flow gradient focusing method that simultaneously separates and concentrates electrokinetic material at a channel entrance utilizing electric and fluid velocity fields. However, its effectiveness is heavily dependent on the non-uniform field gradients about the entrance. This work assesses the capability of electrophoretic exclusion to capture and enrich small molecules and examines the channel entrance region both quantitatively and qualitatively to better understand the separation dynamics for future design.

A flow injection technique is used to experimentally evaluate electrophoretic exclusion of small molecules. Methyl violet, a cationic dye, and visible spectroscopy are used to monitor flow and electrophoretic dynamics at the entrance region resulting in successful capture and simultaneous enrichment of methyl violet at the channel interface. Investigation of the entrance region is performed using both experiment data and finite element analysis modeling to assess regional flow, electric fields, diffusion, convection, and electrophoretic migration. Longitudinal fluid velocity and electric field gradient magnitudes near the channel entrance are quantified using Particle Tracking Velocimetry (PTV) and charged fluorescent microspheres. Lateral studies using rhodamine 123 concentration monitoring agree qualitatively with simulation results indicating decreased gradient uniformity for both electric and fluid velocity fields closer to the channel wall resulting in a localized concentration enhancement at lower applied voltages than previously observed or predicted. Resolution interrogation from both a theoretical assessment and simulation construct demonstrate resolution improvement with decreased channel width and placement of an electrode directly at the interface. Simulation resolution predictions are in general agreement with early experimental assessments, both suggesting species with electrophoretic mobilities as similar as 10-9 m2/(Vs) can be separated with the current design. These studies have helped evolve the understanding of the interface region and set the foundation for further interface developments.

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  • 2015

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Solvent electrostatic response: from simple solutes to proteins

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How water behaves at interfaces is relevant to many scientific and technological applications; however, many subtle phenomena are unknown in aqueous solutions. In this work, interfacial structural transition in hydration

How water behaves at interfaces is relevant to many scientific and technological applications; however, many subtle phenomena are unknown in aqueous solutions. In this work, interfacial structural transition in hydration shells of a polarizable solute at critical polarizabilities is discovered. The transition is manifested in maximum water response, the reorientation of the water dipoles at the interface, and an increase in the density of dangling OH bonds. This work also addresses the role of polarizability of the active site of proteins in biological catalytic reactions. For proteins, the hydration shell becomes very heterogeneous and involves a relatively large number of water molecules. The molecular dynamics simulations show that the polarizability, along with the atomic charge distribution, needs to be a part of the picture describing how enzymes work. Non Gaussian dynamics in time-resolved linear and nonlinear (correlation) 2D spectra are also analyzed.

Additionally, a theoretical formalism is presented to show that when preferential orientations of water dipoles exist at the interface, electrophoretic charges can be produced without free charge carriers, i.e., neutral solutes can move in a constant electric field due to the divergence of polarization at the interface. Furthermore, the concept of interface susceptibility is introduced. It involves the fluctuations of the surface charge density caused by thermal motion and its correlation over the characteristic correlation length with the fluctuations of the solvent charge density. Solvation free energy and interface dielectric constant are formulated accordingly. Unlike previous approaches, the solvation free energy scales quite well in a broad range of ion sizes, namely in the range of 2-14 A° . Interface dielectric constant is defined such that the boundary conditions in the Laplace equation describing a micro- or mesoscopic interface are satisfied. The effective dielectric constant of interfacial water is found to be significantly lower than its bulk value. Molecular dynamics simulation results show that the interface dielectric constant for a TIP3P water model changes from nine to four when the effective solute radius is increased from 5 A° to 18 A° . The small value of the interface dielectric constant of water has potentially dramatic consequences for hydration.

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  • 2016

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Adapting electrophoretic exclusion to a microdevice

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Complex samples, such as those from biological sources, contain valuable information indicative of the state of human health. These samples, though incredibly valuable, are difficult to analyze. Separation science is

Complex samples, such as those from biological sources, contain valuable information indicative of the state of human health. These samples, though incredibly valuable, are difficult to analyze. Separation science is often used as the first step when studying these samples. Electrophoretic exclusion is a novel separations technique that differentiates species in bulk solution. Due to its ability to isolate species in bulk solution, it is uniquely suited to array-based separations for complex sample analysis. This work provides proof of principle experimental results and resolving capabilities of the novel technique. Electrophoretic exclusion is demonstrated at a single interface on both benchtop and microscale device designs. The benchtop instrument recorded absorbance measurements in a 365 μL reservoir near a channel entrance. Results demonstrated the successful exclusion of a positively-charged dye, methyl violet, with various durations of applied potential (30 - 60 s). This was the first example of measuring absorbance at the exclusion location. A planar, hybrid glass/PDMS microscale device was also constructed. One set of experiments employed electrophoretic exclusion to isolate small dye molecules (rhodamine 123) in a 250 nL reservoir, while another set isolated particles (modified polystyrene microspheres). Separation of rhodamine 123 from carboxylate-modified polystyrene spheres was also shown. These microscale results demonstrated the first example of the direct observation of exclusion behavior. Furthermore, these results showed that electrophoretic exclusion can be applicable to a wide range of analytes. The theoretical resolving capabilities of electrophoretic exclusion were also developed. Theory indicates that species with electrophoretic mobilities as similar as 10-9 cm2/Vs can be separated using electrophoretic exclusion. These results are comparable to those of capillary electrophoresis, but on a very different format. This format, capable of isolating species in bulk solution, coupled with the resolving capabilities, makes the technique ideal for use in a separations-based array.

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Date Created
  • 2012

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Foundational studies for array-based electrophoretic exclusion of proteins

Description

Disease prevention and personalized treatment will be impacted by the continued integration of protein biomarkers into medical practice. While there are already numerous biomarkers used clinically, the detection of protein

Disease prevention and personalized treatment will be impacted by the continued integration of protein biomarkers into medical practice. While there are already numerous biomarkers used clinically, the detection of protein biomarkers among complex matrices remains a challenging problem. One very important strategy for improvements in clinical application of biomarkers is separation/preconcentration, impacting the reliability, efficiency and early detection. Electrophoretic exclusion can be used to separate, purify, and concentrate biomarkers. This counterflow gradient technique exploits hydrodynamic flow and electrophoretic forces to exclude, enrich, and separate analytes. The development of this technique has evolved onto an array-based microfluidic platform which offers a greater range of geometries/configurations for optimization and expanded capabilities and applications. Toward this end of expanded capabilities, fundamental studies of subtle changes to the entrance flow and electric field configurations are investigated. Three closely related microfluidic interfaces are modeled, fabricated and tested. A charged fluorescent dye is used as a sensitive and accurate probe to test the concentration variation at these interfaces. Models and experiments focus on visualizing the concentration profile in areas of high temporal dynamics, and show strong qualitative agreement, which suggests the theoretical assessment capabilities can be used to faithfully design novel and more efficient interfaces. Microfluidic electrophoretic separation technique can be combined with electron microscopy as a protein concentration/purification step aiding in sample preparation. The integrated system with grids embedded into the microdevice reduces the amount of time required for sample preparation to less than five minutes. Spatially separated and preconcentrated proteins are transferred directly from an upstream reservoir onto grids. Dilute concentration as low as 0.005 mg/mL can be manipulated to achieve meaningful results. Selective concentration of one protein from a mixture of two proteins is also demonstrated. Electrophoretic exclusion is also used for biomarker applications. Experiments using a single biomarker are conducted to assess the ability of the microdevice for enrichment in central reservoirs. A mixture of two protein biomarkers are performed to evaluate the proficiency of the device for separations capability. Moreover, a battery is able to power the microdevice, which facilitates the future application as a portable device.

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Date Created
  • 2019

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Development of a new approach to biophysical separations using dielectrophoresis

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Biological fluids contain information-rich mixtures of biochemicals and particles such as cells, proteins, and viruses. Selective and sensitive analysis of these fluids can enable clinicians to accurately diagnose a wide

Biological fluids contain information-rich mixtures of biochemicals and particles such as cells, proteins, and viruses. Selective and sensitive analysis of these fluids can enable clinicians to accurately diagnose a wide range of pathologies. Fluid samples such as these present an intriguing challenge to researchers; they are packed with potentially vital information, but notoriously difficult to analyze. Rapid and inexpensive analysis of blood and other bodily fluids is a topic gaining substantial attention in both science and medicine. Current limitations to many analyses include long culture times, expensive reagents, and the need for specialized laboratory facilities and personnel. Improving these tests and overcoming their limitations would allow faster and more widespread testing for disease and pathogens, potentially providing a significant advantage for healthcare in many settings.

Both gradient separation techniques and dielectrophoresis can solve some of the difficulties presented by complex biological samples, thanks to selective capture, isolation, and concentration of analytes. By merging dielectrophoresis with a gradient separation-based approach, gradient insulator dielectrophoresis (g-iDEP) promises benefits in the form of rapid and specific separation of extremely similar bioparticles. High-resolution capture can be achieved by exploiting variations in the characteristic physical properties of cells and other bioparticles.

Novel implementation and application of the technique has demonstrated the isolation and concentration of blood cells from a complex biological sample, differentiation of bacterial strains within a single species, and separation of antibiotic-resistant and antibiotic-susceptible bacteria. Furthermore, this approach allows simultaneous concentration of analyte, facilitating detection and downstream analysis. A theoretical description of the resolving capabilities of g-iDEP was also developed. This theory explores the relationship between experimental parameters and resolution. Results indicate the possibility of differentiating particles with dielectrophoretic mobilities that differ by as little as one part in 100,000,000, or electrophoretic mobilities differing by as little as one part in 100,000. These results indicate the potential g-iDEP holds in terms of both separatory power and the possibility for diagnostic applications.

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Date Created
  • 2015

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Collective behavior of swimming bimetallic motors in chemical concentration gradients

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Locomotion of microorganisms is commonly observed in nature. Although microorganism locomotion is commonly attributed to mechanical deformation of solid appendages, in 1956 Nobel Laureate Peter Mitchell proposed that an asymmetric

Locomotion of microorganisms is commonly observed in nature. Although microorganism locomotion is commonly attributed to mechanical deformation of solid appendages, in 1956 Nobel Laureate Peter Mitchell proposed that an asymmetric ion flux on a bacterium's surface could generate electric fields that drive locomotion via self-electrophoresis. Recent advances in nanofabrication have enabled the engineering of synthetic analogues, bimetallic colloidal particles, that swim due to asymmetric ion flux originally proposed by Mitchell. Bimetallic colloidal particles swim through aqueous solutions by converting chemical fuel to fluid motion through asymmetric electrochemical reactions. This dissertation presents novel bimetallic motor fabrication strategies, motor functionality, and a study of the motor collective behavior in chemical concentration gradients. Brownian dynamics simulations and experiments show that the motors exhibit chemokinesis, a motile response to chemical gradients that results in net migration and concentration of particles. Chemokinesis is typically observed in living organisms and distinct from chemotaxis in that there is no particle directional sensing. The synthetic motor chemokinesis observed in this work is due to variation in the motor's velocity and effective diffusivity as a function of the fuel and salt concentration. Static concentration fields are generated in microfluidic devices fabricated with porous walls. The development of nanoscale particles that swim autonomously and collectively in chemical concentration gradients can be leveraged for a wide range of applications such as directed drug delivery, self-healing materials, and environmental remediation.

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Date Created
  • 2011