The overall goal of the project is to develop discovery platform based on microfluidics and functional cell assays that is suitable for screening hundreds of proteins or small-molecule compounds simultaneously in a cost-effective and high throughput manner. The projects Specific Aims are: (1) To develop a microfluidic-based platform for high-throughput screening of potential protein and small molecule therapeutics. (2) To develop an insulin stimulated glucose uptake assay in differentiated 3T3-L1 adipocytes using fluorescent 2-deoxy glucose (2-DOG) analog. (3) To integrate and perform a functional 2-DOG uptake assay in the microfluidics based multi-well cell culture biochip. The deliverable from this completed project is a cost-effective microfluidics based platform suitable for high throughput screening of proteins and small molecule therapeutic compounds.
The long term objective of the project is to identify protein and small molecule therapeutics to treat diseases such as diabetes, obesity, cancer and neurological disorders. As a first step towards this objective, a platform based on microfluidics technology and functional cell bioassays is being developed to screen the entire human proteome and small molecule libraries in a cost-effective and time saving manner. Presently, safety and efficacy of most of the drugs in the market is still a primary concern. However, with more therapies becoming available, it is possible that not only safety standards will be met but also the cost of drugs will be lowered.