(581b) Electrical Manipulation of Cells for Biology and Medicine | AIChE

(581b) Electrical Manipulation of Cells for Biology and Medicine


Voldman, J. - Presenter, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Microsystems have the potential to impact biology & medicine by providing new ways to manipulate, separate, and otherwise interrogate cells. Simply physically manipulating cells—using microfluidics, electric fields, etc.—provides new ways to separate cells and organize cell-cell interactions. One example illustrating the power of microscale manipulation of cells is to sort cells based on their intrinsic electrical properties. Electrical properties have previously been correlated with important biological phenotypes (apoptosis, cancer, etc.), but a sensitive and specific method approach has been lacking. We have developed a method called iso-dielectric separation that uses electric fields to drive cells to the point in a conductivity gradient where they become electrically transparent, resulting in a continuous separation method specific to electrical properties. With this method, we are developing a point-of-care assay that can quickly assay immune cell activation, which has applications for monitoring inflammation in sepsis and other immune disorders.