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Physics Colloquium - Friday, October 30th, 2009, 4:00 P.M.


E300 Math/Science Center; Refreshments at 3:30 P.M. in Room E200


Hang Lu
Department of Physics
Georgia Tech

Microfluidics for manipulating multicelular organisms and cells

My lab is interested in engineering microfluidic devices to address questions in neuroscience and cell biology that are difficult to answer with conventional techniques. Not only does microfluidics provide the appropriate length scale for investigating molecules, cells, and small organisms, but one can also take advantage of unique phenomena associated with small-scale flow and field effects. In addition, microfluidics allows unprecedented parallelization and automation that facilitate gathering quantitative and large-scale data about complex biological systems. I will show a microfluidic system for automated high-resolution imaging and high-throughput genetic screens in C. elegans ("the worm", a free-living soil nematode). We solved a series of technical challenges in order to eliminate the bottleneck in the manual, skill-intensive phenotyping and laser cell kill techniques in neurogenetic studies, and transform them into high-throughput and quantitative ones. I will also give an examples using microfluidics to manipulate cells to study signal transduction networks in cells, and our approach to study how cells/particles behave in chaotic flow.