Single Cell Analysis

TITLE: Single Cell Analysis: Lab-on-chip devices for high throughput single cell manipulation and analysis

Advisor: Sameer R Sonkusale

Researchers: Shideh Kabiri Ameri, Meera Punjiya


Compared to the conventional approach of studying the culture of cells that measure average cell response and obscure crucial differences between them, single cell studies allow one to catalogue individual cell behavior and capture cellular heterogeneity. There is a need for platforms to perform high-throughput single cell manipulation and control to allow such studies. Manipulation implies trapping, moving, pairing and lysing of individual cells. Following manipulation, there is also a need to perform high throughput analysis of cells by monitoring its activity through measurement of extra- and intra-cellular metabolites such as dissolved pO2, pH and pCO2. Another application for such platforms are in high throughput drug screening for many diseases.


We have built a lab-on-chip device for high-throughput trapping and lysis of single cells with in-situ impedance monitoring in an all-electronic approach. The lab-on-chip device consists of microwell arrays between transparent conducting electrodes within a microfluidic channel to deliver and extract cells using dielectrophoresis. Cells are lysed with high efficiency using DC electric fields between the electrodes. Utilizing an impedance based measurement approach eliminates the need for bulky optical components and cameras for monitoring. In another effort, we used graphene as transparent electrodes as they are electrochemically stable compared to indium tin oxide (ITO) electrodes and very biocompatible. We are now working on integrating these functions on CMOS.


Initial platform on high throughput trapping and lysis was demonstrated with red blood cells with each well containing single cells and monitored electronically (Biosensors and Bioelectronics, 2014). And our work on graphene based electrodes for the same function of trapping and lysis yielded robust results for long term use (Biosensors and Bioelectronics, 2014).


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