This project leverages new collaborations between biomedical and engineering investigators to develop new methods for the sorting and isolation of immune cells, where the precise trajectory of individual cells are controlled and sorted on a chip analogous to the way electrons are controlled inside computer circuits. This set of tools allows for fundamentally new methods to study phenotype, genotype, and the morphology of single or pairs of single cells, over extended periods of time with precision that is unparalleled by existing techniques, such as flow cytometry and flow cell sorting. The overall stated aims of this research are to develop the engineering platform and demonstrate a biological application for a lab-on-a-chip device that can analyze thousands of single cells over long durations, exposure to multiple stimuli, and enable the extraction of individual, high-value, cells for furthe immunological analyses (RT-PCR, clonal expansion, etc.).
We aim to 1) design and fabricate a lab-on-chip assay optimized for biological applications, 2) incorporate electromagnetic switching capability to the array complete with automated control algorithms, and 3) use this novel assay to study early cellular events in the disruption of HIV latency.
The goal of this project is to create a new laboratory tool for the study of individual immune cells. Detailed study of cells is important in characterizing the immune response in a variety of diseases in order to develop new drugs and therapies to treat human diseases.