H. Clifford and Evelyn A. Brosey Professor of Engineering
316 Stinson Remick Hall
Areas of Interest
We are developing a variety of tools that leverage nanotechnology for biomedical applications. One such tool involves using a picometer-diameter pore (i.e. picopores) as a non-optical sensor which relies on a distinctive electrical signal that develops when a single analyte, immersed in electrolyte, translocates across a membrane through the pore. My research group has shown that it is now possible to produce pores with a sub-nanometer diameter in a solid-state dielectric embedded in a microfluidic device. Sub-nanometer precision affords exquisite control of the electric field in and beyond the lumen of the pore, while the microfluidic device reduces the parasitic membrane capacitance that adversely affects noise while at the same time reducing the amount of material required for detection. We have shown that such precise control of the electric field and the forces in a picopore facilitate discrimination between different proteins and nucleic acids, and enables the transfection of single cells via electroporation.
Another tool uses “live cell lithography” (LCL), a technique that uses arrays of optical tweezers to organize individual cells on a hydrogel scaffold, to create microfluidic models of human microcirculation to be used as a starting point for in vitro studies of hypertension and cancer metastasis. With LCL, models of human microcirculation are created using optical tweezers to position cells precisely in three dimensions (3D) on cell-specific photo-polymerized hydrogel scaffolds that recapitulate the mechanics, porosity and biochemistry of a bona fide extracellular matrix (ECM)—creating “living voxels” that can be stitched together into cytoarchitectures of any size, shape and constituency to more accurately reflect human tissue responses.
Ph.D, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1984
M.S., EE Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1980
B.S., EE University of Illinois, 1978