We are active members of the California Institute for Quantitative Biosciences (QB3) and the Berkeley Stem Cell Center, with students in several departments including the UC Berkeley-UCSF Graduate Group in Bioengineering, Berkeley’s Biophysics Graduate Group, and Mechanical Engineering.

Current Research Projects:

Cancer


 

Node-Pore Sensing

Francois Rivest

Node-Pore Sensing (NPS) is a label-free technique that can screen for multiple markers on the surface of cells, simultaneously.  Currently, we are applying NPS to phenotype subpopulations of cells for cancer diagnosis and monitoring.   At the same time, with Prof. Michael Lusting in EECS, we are focused on developing the next-generation NPS by encoding our devices with codes used in radar, Wi-Fi, and telecommunication. 

Using Node-Pore Sensing to Mechanically Phenotype Cancer Cells

Junghyun Kim

We are utilizing NPS to phenotype cancer cells based on their mechanical properties.  Our goal is to correlate mechanical phenotype with invasive potential using.

Optofluidic Platform for Label-Free Cell-Surface Marker Screening

Roberto Falcon-Banchs

We are developing an optofluidic version of NPS and are developing cell-tracking algorithms to measure the transient-binding interaction between surface markers and specific antibodies.  We aim to apply this platform to point-of-care diagnosis and monitoring of cancer.

Liquid Biopsy Platform

Daniel Yang

We are developing a microfluidic platform which utilizes inertial forces to isolate rare cells for downstream analysis and therapeutic monitoring.

Stem Cells


 

Engineering Strategies for Studying the Neural Stem-Cell Niche

Olivia Scheideler

In a collaboration with Prof. David Schaffer (Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering), we are developing novel platforms that enable us to dissect the mechanisms of niche signals on instructing single neural stem-cell fate decisions.  One such application is investigating how neural stem cells resolve conflicting signals that promote opposing cell fates.

Patterned 3D Cell Culturing

Nahyun Cho

We are developing a 3D cell-culturing platform in which we are able to control and pattern the stiffness dynamically.  With this platform, we will be able to investigate stem-cell differentiation based on stiffness and architectural influences on cellular phenotype.  Ultimately, we hope that our platform will help replicate in vivo conditions more accurately, thereby facilitating both research and clinical applications.

Organ-on-a-Chip

Sewoon Han, Ph.D.

We are developing microchips that accurately mimic the mechanics and the patho/physiologies of living human tissues (e.g. general blood capillaries, the blood-brain barrier, 3D micro-tumor tissues).  Our success will enable solid drug-testing methods for replacing inefficient animal models.