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:
Kristen Cotner and Brian Li
Node-Pore Sensing (NPS) is a label-free technique that can perform both surface marker screening and mechanical phenotyping of cells. Currently, we are applying NPS to phenotype subpopulations of cells for cancer diagnosis and monitoring. Our collaborators include Prof. Michael Lusting in EECS, with whom we are encoding our devices with codes used in radar, Wi-Fi, and telecommunications for real-time analysis and coincidence correction, and Prof. Aaron Streets in Bioengineering, with whom we are correlating mechanical phenotypes with gene expression patterns.
Using Node-Pore Sensing to Mechanically Phenotype Cancer Cells
We have developed the next generation of NPS and are now able to mechanically phenotype cells. We are currently collaborating with Prof. Mark LaBarge (Dept. of Population Sciences) at the City of Hope to use "mechano-NPS" to perform early detection of breast cancer.
Exosome-Based Liquid Biopsy
We are developing a microfluidic platform to screen for exosomes displaying tumor-specific protein markers.
Engineering Strategies for Studying the Neural Stem-Cell Niche
In a collaboration with Prof. David Schaffer (Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering), we are developing new DNA-based patterning technologies that enable us to dissect the complex mechanisms of niche signals on instructing single neural stem-cell fate decisions.
Patterned 3D Cell Culturing
We are developing a novel cell-culturing platform in which we are able to tightly control the stiffness dynamically via light cues. This hydrogel platform could help mimic in vivo dynamic stiffness environments, such as blood vessels, which will greatly influence our understanding of mechanobiology.
Next-Generation Transendothelial Electrical Resistance Platform
We are developing a microfluidic-based TEER platform that enables high spatial- and temporal- resolution measurements. With this platform, we are focused on understanding the time-dependent behavior of the endothelial cell monolayer when in the presence of physical cues during such biological processes as cancer metastasis.