People Research







Research Overview

Research conducted in our laboratory is in the general area of micro/nanoscale devices for biology and medicine. Our research centers on microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) as applied to biological sensing and manipulation, with an emphasis on controlling, sensing and characterizing biomolecules and cells by integrating MEMS transducers with microfluidics. The goal of such systems is to facilitate understanding of fundamental biophysical phenomena, as well as to enable practical biomedical applications. Such systems will allow automated, sensitive, high-throughput analysis of biological systems within well-controlled micro/nanoenvironments, and may enable novel biophysical investigations not attainable by conventional instruments.

Our research projects primarily include aptameric microfluidics, implantable affinity biosensors, temperature-dependent bio-characterization, polymer-enhanced microflow control, and BioMEMS modeling. Results from these projects have contributed to the science and technology of MEMS-based biosensing and manipulation. For example, our laboratory was the first to report aptameric microfluidic systems that use thermally controlled, reversible aptamer-target binding for specific biomolecular purification and enrichment with isocratic elution. In the meantime, we are among the pioneers to employ MEMS technology to create implantable affinity biosensors for detection of metabolites such as glucose. We developed the first biocompatible, synthetic viscometric affinity glucose assay on MEMS platforms, and very recently, made the first demonstration of affinity glucose sensing by measuring specific, glucose-induced changes in the dielectric properties of a polymer in a MEMS device. Additionally, to enable characterization of temperature-dependent biomolecular binding, our laboratory demonstrated, for the first time, MEMS-based differential scanning calorimetry of protein unfolding events and temperature-dependent single-molecule studies of ribosomal translation elongation. Also, our research in polymer-enhanced microfluidics has resulted in novel compliance-based microflow control devices, and our modeling work has produced accurate and efficient models that offer in-depth scientific insights into as well as practical design guidelines for BioMEMS devices.

Descriptions of our major research projects are provided by the links below: