The droplet microfluidics team use emulsion technology to create single cell, protein and genetic analysis methods to extend the limits of bioanalysis for single cells, high throughput library screening and proteins. Droplet microfluidics is a technique to encapsulate, process and analyze cells and reagents in monodisperse aqueous microreactors on the picoliter scale, the size scale of the single cell. Picoliter droplets can be created and manipulated at rates of millions per hour using microfluidic devices and automated control. Droplet manipulations include for example generation, fusion, splitting and sorting by fluorescence or droplet size. These manipulations allow us to miniaturize biological assays in order to perform them inexpensively at higher throughput and with capabilities beyond those of traditional analysis methods. Thus far, we have developed a number of different assays including an assay for detection and analysis of cell surface protein biomarkers on individual human cells using enzymatic amplification inside microscale droplets. The method provides increased sensitivity with high throughput, and permits analysis of several cell samples concurrently by incorporation of droplet optical labels. This work was recognized in Nature Materials as a research highlight. We have also developed a fluorescence based homogeneous assay for protein analysis, passive separation of droplets by size based on cell-induced droplet shrinkage and improvements in robust and inexpensive microfluidic device fabrication for optical analysis. Another research focus is droplet-based assays for directed-evolution of industrially relevant enzymes. Recently we have presented a novel microdroplet-based device for simultaneous and extensive characterization of the reaction kinetics of enzyme-inhibitor systems, for the first time utilizing picoinjectors for droplet bioanalysis.
Point of care systems
To overcome limitations for wide application of clinical microarrays, such as high cost of assays need for skilled technicians, need for advanced equipment and long assay times, our lab has developed two novel assay formats that allow for rapid, inexpensive, portable and easy to use microarray analysis. 1) Affinity-labelled superparamagnetic microparticles are actuated by magnetic fields to provide a detection technology which within seconds allows for a naked-eye or cell-phone camera analysis of microarray results with retained assay performance. 2) A paper-based substrate is used to create a lateral flow microarray assay which, together with affinity labeled gold nanoparticles allows for convenient ten-minute high density microarray assays and naked-eye or cell phone camera analysis. We hope that developments made by our group and others will be useful in translating the impressive advancement in lab-based diagnostic methods into integrated low-cost diagnostic devices amenable for field use, point of care, health care points and emergency medicine situations.
Clinical diagnostics is one of the fastest developing areas for microfluidic applications. Point-of-care (POC) blood analysis represents a rapidly growing market with the potential to reshape the delivery of health care. Microfluidics has the potential to spur the development of protocols and affordable instruments for specific blood analyses with minimal perturbation of individual cell populations. Current research at the Clinical microfluidics lab involves development of microfluidic point-of-care devices for blood diagnostics with focus on sample preparation for bacteria isolation from whole blood for sepsis diagnostics; cell sorting for (i)cancer, (ii)allergy and (iii)HIV diagnostics; and DNA analysis (for low cost molecular diagnostics). The Clinical microfluidics group has a number of national and international collaboration projects, and we are currently coordinating one EU FP7 project (InTopSens) and WP leader in additional two EU FP7 projects (Digital Sequencing and RAPP-ID).
We have also developed a microwell chip (672 wells of 500 nl) consisting of glass and silicon, with a spacing between wells that is compatible with automatic sorting of single cells into individual wells. This chip has been applied in many different biological studies, for example single leukemic non-adherent cancer cells were investigated for their heterogeneity in cell proliferation. The chip has subsequently also shown potential in protein analysis, mutation analysis by PCR, microfluidic integration and also for stem cell research. The combination of 1) the hundreds of experiments that can be run simultaneously in the chip and 2) the small volume per well saving reagent cost in molecule screens, makes the microwell chip a perfect match in cell research where high-throughput analysis is of utmost interest and the cellular effects of expensive molecules often are to be studied.
Helene Andersson Svahn, Professor
Sunghoon Kwon, Affiliated Professor
Aman Russom, Associate Professor, Group leader Clinical Microfluidics
Sergey Zelenin, Associate Professor
Håkan Jönsson, Postdoc, Group leader Droplet Microfluidics
Jesper Gantelius, Postdoc, Group leader Point of care systems
Ali Khorshidi, PhD-student
Asim Faridi, PhD-student
Harisha Ramachandraiah, PhD-student
Lovisa Söderberg, PhD-student
Prem Kumar Periyannan Rajeswari, PhD-student
Sahar Ardabili, PhD-student
Staffan Sjöström, PhD-student
Zenib Aljadi, PhD-student
Anna Ohlander, PhD-student
Chinnasamy Thiruppathiraja, Postdoc
Mary Amasia, Postdoc
Yunpeng Bai, Postdoc
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