Advanced Manufacturing Laboratory

Mass radiological triage is critical after a large-scale radiological event because of the need to identify those individuals who will benefit from medical intervention as soon as possible. The goal of the ongoing NIH-funded research project is to design a prototype of a fully automated, ultra high throughput biodosimetry. This prototype is supposed to accommodate multiple assay preparation protocols that allow the determination of the levels of radiation exposure that a patient received. The input to this fully autonomous system is a large number of capillaries filled with blood of patients collected using finger sticks. These capillaries are processed by the system to distill the micronucleus assay in lymphocytes, with all the assays being carried out in situ in multi-well plates. The research effort on this project involves the automation system design and integration including hierarchical control algorithms, design and control of custom built robotic devices, and automated image acquisition and processing for sample preparation and analysis.

A technology that couples the power of multidimensional microscopy (three spatial dimensions, time, and multiple wavelengths) with that of DNA array technology is investigated in an NIH-funded project. Specifically, a system is developed in which individual cells selected on the basis of optically detectable multiple features at critical time points in dynamic processes can be rapidly and robotically micromanipulated into reaction chambers to permit amplified DNA synthesis and subsequent array analysis. Customized image processing and pattern recognition techniques are developed, including Fisher’s linear discriminant preprocessing with neural net, a support vector machine with improved training, multiclass cell detection with error correcting output coding, and kernel principal component analysis. (Read more about the Advanced Manufacturing Laboratory)

Biofluidic Micro Systems Laboratory

Microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) are being exploited to enable and facilitate the characterization and manipulation of biomolecules. MEMS technology allows biomolecules to be studied in well-controlled micro/nanoenvironments of miniaturized, integrated devices, and may enable novel biomedical investigations not attainable by conventional techniques. The research interests center on the development of MEMS devices and systems for label-free manipulation and interrogation of biomolecules. Current research efforts primarily involve microfluidic devices that exploit specific and reversible, stimulus-dependent binding between biomolecules and receptor molecules to enable selective purification, concentration, and label-free detection of nucleic acid, protein, and small molecule analytes; miniaturized instruments for label-free characterization of thermodynamic and other physical properties of biomolecules; and subcutaneously implantable MEMS affinity biosensors for continuous monitoring of glucose and other metabolites. (Read more about the Biofluidic Micro Systems Laboratory)

Hone Group

The Hone group is involved in a number of projects that employ the tools of micro- and nanofabrication toward the study of biological systems. With collaborators in biology and applied physics, the group has developed techniques to fabricate metal patterns on the molecular scale (below 10 nanometers) and attach biomolecules to create biofunctionalized nanoarrays. The group is currently using these arrays to study molecular recognition, cell spreading, and protein crystallization. Professor Hone is a co-PI of the NIH-funded Nanotechnology Center for Mechanics in Regenerative Medicine, which seeks to understand and modify at the nanoscale force- and geometry-sensing pathways in health and disease. The Hone group fabricates many of the tools used by the center to measure and apply force on a cellular level. (Read more about the Hone Group)

Musculoskeletal Biomechanics Laboratory

Active areas of research in the musculoskeletal biomechanics laboratory include theoretical and experimental analysis of articular cartilage mechanics; theoretical and experimental analysis of cartilage lubrication, cartilage tissue engineering, and bioreactor design; growth and remodeling of biological tissues; cell mechanics; and mixture theory for biological tissues with experiments and computational analysis (Read more about the Musculoskeletal Biomechanics Laboratory).

Schuck Lab

The Schuck group is involved in engineering novel near-infrared (NIR) upconverting nanoparticles (UCNPs) and UCNP-based micro-devices for large-scale sensing applications, including deployment in projects aimed at deep-tissue imaging and the control of neural function deep within brain tissue. UCNPs have the potential to overcome nearly all limitations of current optical probes and sensors, which have run into fundamental chemical and photophysical incompatibilities with living systems. (Read more about the Schuck Lab)