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IDBR: TYPE A - Isomotive dielectrophoresis for enhanced analyses of cell subpopulations

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An award is made to the University of Louisville to develop an isomotive dielectrophoresis (isoDEP) microfluidic device that will extract dielectric properties of individual cells. IsoDEP can be used in applications where cell identification and analysis is critical such as studying phytoplankton populations for environmental monitoring, bacteria identification for monitoring food safety, or identifying cancerous cells. Details of the isoDEP device will be disseminated to the local biological community and the general public through technical presentations and social media. Educational outreach will include the exposure of isoDEP physics and instrument development to undergraduate students from rural impoverished regions of Appalachia and to high school students from Central High School, one of the oldest urban secondary schools in Kentucky.

The analysis of individual cells within a population can monitor environmental conditions or assess human health. In particular, dielectric properties provide insight into cell conditions and can be used to identify and characterize cell sub-populations. For example, cell properties such as membrane capacitance, membrane resistance, and cytoplasmic conductivity directly reflect the cell's biological structure. This project will extract dielectric measurements through particle tracking under an electrokinetic environment at a rate of at least one order of magnitude greater than current methods. Through collaboration with Murray State University, freshwater phytoplankton analysis will be conducted for environmental monitoring. In collaboration with a local small business (Ikotech, LLC), an additional objective of this research is to develop an isoDEP microfluidic instrument to be used by scientists worldwide.
Funding Source
United States Nat'l. Science Fndn.
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Natural Toxins
Viruses and Prions
Bacterial Pathogens
Chemical Contaminants
Education and Training