Faculty Mentor: Jongyoon Han
Direct Supervisor: Han Wei Hou
Home University: University of Miami
Major: Biomedical Engineering
I was born and raised in Miami, FL, and currently attend the University of Miami. As a senior in Biomedical engineering, my goal is to help develop the nascent technologies of neuroprosthetics and neural engineering by becoming a doctorate-level expert in my field. As such, my passions in research include understanding the nervous system, learning to interface it with developing technologies, and using those technologies to relieve the crippling conditions brought on by paralysis, or the loss of a limb. In my spare time I enjoy a good read, good conversations, and learning new things.
Microfluidic Aqueous Two-Phase System (µATPS) for blood fractionation
Blood, a highly complex biological fluid, comprises ~45% cellular components suspended in protein rich plasma; successful separation of these different hematologic components (erythrocytes, leukocytes, platelets) has innumerable applications in both clinical diagnosis and biological research. Current methodologies for blood fractionation include differential centrifugation which is time-consuming and requires large sample volumes. Here, we developed a simple microfluidic device utilizing an Aqueous Two-Phase System (ATPS) with the goal of achieving blood fractionation based on their intrinsic chemical properties. In theory, different cellular blood components have different affinities to one phase over the other, and should migrate to a favorable position in the stream accordingly. The purpose of our study here was to evaluate whether or not blood cells migrate to different phases based on cellular chemical affinity and the effects of flow conditions, For our experiments, white blood cells (monocytes), red blood cells, and chemically inert microbeads of similar sizes were individually tested with conventional macroscale methods and also in microchannels made of Polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) using standard ATPS polymer solution, polyethylene glocol (PEG) and Dextran. Our results clearly illustrated the effect of flow rate; all cells and microbeads migrated only into Dextran phase at higher rates due to significant inertial effect; they remained at the interface at lower rates Based on these preliminary results, it seems that the force of diffusion on cells and microbeads due to chemical affinities is negligible compared with the hydrodynamic forces (inertial and viscous) in the flow profiles of ATPS. Future work will include careful characterization of channel dimensions and polymer concentration to better optimize the system.