MEMS Seminar: Isolation and Enrichment of Rare Cell Populations Based on Their Dielectrophoretic Signature

Oct 4

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
Fitzpatrick Center Schiciano Auditorium Side A


Professor Rafael Davalos

In the presence of an electric field, biological cells become polarized. This biophysical response can be used to transport cells in a non-uniform electric field through a phenomenon known as dielectrophoresis. Utilizing this phenomenon, we have invented a microfluidic-based technology known as contactless dielectrophoresis (cDEP) to isolate rare cells of interest. Advantages of cDEP over other cell sorting methods include elimination of extensive sample preparation and rare cell enrichment while maintaining cell viability. Cancer stem cells (CSCs) are a finite population of cancer cells possessing the ability to transplant a new tumor from an existing one and are responsible for the metastatic properties of tumors. Isolation of CSCs is the first step toward understanding their role in pathogenesis and cancer progression and is essential for development of improved therapies. We characterized the dielectrophoretic response for collecting and culturing CSCs and found it to be significantly different from that of non-CSCs. As opposed to approaches that rely on biomarkers and biochemical methods to isolate rare cells, this is the first CSC isolation strategy relying on the biophysics of the cell rather than its genotype. Non-invasive phenotypic methods to detect and enrich cells independent of their genotype are critical for early diagnostic and treatment purposes including stem cell therapy, circulating tumor cell detection, and isolating bacteria from blood.Lunch @ 11:30 am.

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Brandy Oldham