Microfluidics for single cell Genomics
Our lab has been working on developing a droplet microfluidics device to extract mRNA from single cells and to analyze subsequently their gene expression by quantitative PCR in a continuous fashion at rates of up to 3000 cells/sec. Such a device has applications in early cancer diagnosis by identifying the origin of blood circulating cancer cells, and therefore allowing to identifying malignant tumors before they can be detected by traditional imaging or screening techniques. Our device is also highly desirable for basic research in cell biology because it could provide us with insight into the detailed mechanism of gene regulation on the single cell level.
Dynamics of DNA in confined geometries
Many technologies for macromolecular manipulation, purification, and separation rely on an environment of molecular level constraints to create selective macromolecular motion. We are developing a deeper understanding of the thermodynamics and dynamics of nanoscale polymer confinement by preparing fluidic devices and cavity arrays in which macromolecules can be examined by single molecule fluorescence visualization. We are also addressing a very important technological area of separating different polymer topologies (e.g. linear vs. circular).