The ultimate limits of measurement in biology are the “quantum” units that convey information, e.g. single nucleic acids, proteins, and cells. Microfluidics has emerged as a powerful tool to compartmentalize single cells and molecules into sub-nanoliter droplets as individual bioreactors to enable sensitive detection and analysis down to this quantum limit. However, the current systems for quantum assays have not been widely adopted, partly due to the requirement of specialized instruments and microfluidic chips to generate uniform droplets and perform adequate manipulations. I will discuss the platforms we are developing to fractionate volumes in simplified, instrument-free ways using 3D-shaped microparticles. These “lab on a particle” platforms enable sorting cells based on secreted products for the discovery of antibodies, the development of cell lines producing recombinant products, and the selection of functional cells for cell therapies. Each cell and its secreted products can be analyzed using widely available flow cytometers operating at up to a 1000 cells per second, promising to democratize single-cell technologies.
About the Speaker
Dino Di Carlo received his B.S. in Bioengineering from the University of California, Berkeley in 2002 and received a Ph.D. in Bioengineering from the University of California, Berkeley and San Francisco in 2006. From 2006-2008 he conducted postdoctoral studies in the Center for Engineering in Medicine at Harvard Medical School. He has been on the faculty in the Department of Bioengineering at UCLA since 2008 and now as Professor of Bioengineering serves as the Vice Chair of the Department and Deputy Director of an NSF Engineering Research Center focused on diagnostics for underserved populations. In 2019 he was named the Armond and Elena Hairapetian Chair Professor in Engineering and Medicine at UCLA. His research pioneered the use of inertial fluid dynamic effects for the control, separation, and analysis of cells in microfluidic devices. His recent work extends into numerous other fields of biomedicine and biotechnology including lab-on-a-particle technologies, directed evolution of cells, rapid diagnostics, mechanomedicine, next generation biomaterials, and phenotypic drug screening. He has also been a leader in technology entrepreneurship: He co-founded several companies that are commercializing UCLA intellectual property developed in his lab including CytoVale, Vortex Biosciences, Tempo Therapeutics, Forcyte, Ferrologix, Hana Diagnostics, and Partillion Bioscience. Among other honors he received the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE) and was elected a Fellow of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering in 2016, was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry (FRSC) in 2014, was awarded the National Science Foundation (NSF) Faculty Early Career Development award and the U.S. Office of Naval Research (ONR) Young Investigator Award, the Packard Fellowship and Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) Young Faculty Award, and received the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Director’s New Innovator Award and Coulter Translational Research Award.