Chan Zuckerberg Initiative Funds Haun’s Research
Dec. 1, 2017 - UC Irvine biomedical engineer Jered Haun has received a grant from the Silicon Valley Community Foundation, a donor-advised fund of the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative. An assistant professor, Haun is developing an integrated microfluidic device that increases the speed and efficiency at which tissue is broken down into single cells.
Researchers need to isolate individual cells from tissue to conduct analysis and sequencing, thereby identifying disease. However, evaluating individual cells within tissue is a major challenge, particularly for rare cell types such as stem cells.
“The need to first dissociate tissue remains a significant barrier, as current methods are labor intensive, slow and inefficient,” said Haun. “We have developed microfluidic technologies that will dramatically improve this process.”
He uses three different devices that were designed to work in concert, each operating at a different size scale, from the full tissue specimen down through aggregates and finally single cells. The multi-faceted approach enables Haun to appropriately tailor flow properties, resulting in a gradual and complete breakdown in a fast, efficient and gentle manner. The one-year pilot project will optimize design and operating procedures for five different tissues: liver, skin, pancreas, kidney and heart.
The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative was launched in December 2015 by Mark Zuckerberg, founder and CEO of Facebook, and his wife, Priscilla Chan, a pediatrician and founder and CEO of The Primary School in East Palo Alto. The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative is a new kind of philanthropic organization dedicated to advancing human potential and promoting equal opportunity through world class engineering, grantmaking, impact investing, policy, and advocacy work.
– Lori Brandt