(10g) Interfacial Dynamics of Soft Matter and Low-Cost Diagnostic Devices

Authors: 
Bhamla, M. S., Stanford University
Research Interests:

Complex Fluid Interfaces

 When small biomolecules (lipids, proteins) and particles adsorb at fluid surfaces, they render complex microstructural and rheological properties to the interface. These molecular-thin layers provide macroscopic functionality in both nature and engineered systems. Examples in nature include the foam nests of frogs and spittle bugs, the membranes of living cells, the tear film of the eye and alveoli in mammalian lungs. Engineers emulate natureâ??s tricks to develop stable interfaces in modern 3D printing, pharmaceutical formulations and for foams and emulsions in food products.

As a doctoral student with Prof. Gerald G. Fuller, I focused on studying the dynamic measurement biological interfacial films, such as the human tear film and lung surfactants. My work draws on concepts and tools from rheology, soft matter and fluid mechanics to address the interplay of structure, transport and biological function. In addition to fundamental questions of why the tear film and lung surfactant possess such remarkable interfacial properties, my work has been applied in industry for developing next-generation contact lenses and artificial lung surfactant therapeutics.

Low-cost diagnostic devices

Diagnosing patients quickly and accurately is one of the most important steps in fighting disease, and in developing nations, it is one of the biggest obstacles to treatment. An urgent challenge in global health is development of low-cost point-of-care tools (<$1) to ultimately reach a billion people who need it most. Keeping the cost of tools in consideration while maintaining the scientific rigor, quality, robustness and accuracy of devices requires creative ideas from soft matter, biophysics, chemistry and medical instrumentation.

As a postdoctoral fellow with Manu Prakash, I am working on developing a low-cost, electricity-free centrifugation technology that will only cost 20-cents. This tool addresses sample preparation challenges currently relying on centrifuges that are expensive, bulky and require infrastructure (electricity). More importantly, my work opens up possibilities for developing integrated diagnostic systems that exploit centrifugal microfluidics for one-step integrated nucleic acid based tests, that are crucial for early diagnosis and complete elimination of infectious diseases affecting human society.

Teaching Interests:

Transport phenomena, biophysics, fluid dynamics, soft matter.

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