CBE Seminar: Nanofluidic Technologies for Biomolecule Manipulation

Friday, December 6, 2019 - 11:00 a.m. to Saturday, December 7, 2019 - 11:55 a.m.
Engineering Hall 2430 Colloquia Room
Sumita Pennathur

Department of Mechanical Engineering
UC Santa Barbara

Abstract: In the last 20 years, microfabrication techniques have allowed researchers to miniaturize tools for a plethora of bioanalytical applications. In addition to better sensitivity, accuracy and precision, scaling down the size of bioanalytical tools has led to the exploitation of new technologies to further manipulate biomolecules in ways that have never before been achieved. For example, when microfluidic channels are on the same order of magnitude of the electric double layers that form due to localized charge at the surfaces, there exists unique physics that create different flow phenomenon, such as analyte concentration and/or separation, mainly due to the couples physics of electrostatics and fluid dynamics. This talk will outline the basis of such interesting phenomena, such as nanofluidic separation and concentration, as well as probe the applications of such coupled systems, for example, handheld DNA detection. Most importantly, we will focus on the most recent work in the Pennathur lab in this field -- biopolar electrode-based phenomenon. Bipolar electrodes (BPE) have been studied in microfluidic systems over the past few decades, and through rigorous experimentally validated modeling of the rich combined physics of fluid dynamics, electrokinetics and electrochemistry of BPEs, I will show the potential of utilizing microfluidic-based BPEs for the design and development of low-power, accurate, low-volume fluid pumping mechanisms, with the ultimate goal of integration into wearable drug delivery and µTAS systems.


Bio: Sumita Pennathur has been a professor of mechanical engineering at UC Santa Barbara since 2007, specializing in the fields of MEMS, nanofludics and electrokinetics. Her most significant contributions include: 1) unearthing a novel mechanism for separation and concentration of analytes for bioanalytical applications, 2) developing a label-free detection mechanism for nucleic acids (that has since spun off into a point-of-care diagnostic company), 3) developing commercial medical diagnostic products, 4) building optical and acoustic biosensors and 5) developing revolutionized methods for measuring blood glucose for patients with diabetes. She received her bachelor's and master's degrees from MIT and her doctorate from Stanford University.

Host: Vasan Venugopalan