Electrical and Computer Engineering

WIMS Seminar

Microelectromechanical Systems for Thermal Characterization and Manipulation of Biomolecules

Professor Qiao LinAssociate ProfessorColumbia University

Professor Qiao Lin, Associate Professor
Department of Mechanical Engineering,
Columbia University, New York, NY 10027

Thermal effects are ubiquitous to biological processes. Microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) technology allows the integration of sensitive thermal detection and efficient thermal control with fluidic manipulation, thereby enabling the interrogation of biomolecules in controlled microscale environments unattainable with conventional technologies. This presentation will highlight our research in applying MEMS technology to thermally-based biomolecular characterization and manipulation.
We will discuss the application of MEMS technology to thermodynamic characterization of biomolecules, focusing on a miniaturized differential scanning calorimeter. The device consists of a pair of freestanding microfluidic chambers integrated with thermal sensing and control elements. Minute differential heat between the sample and buffer contained in the chambers is measured to assess the biochemical reaction, potentially with orders-of-magnitude smaller sample consumption when compared with conventional instruments. We will also present an investigation of microfluidic platforms for manipulating biomolecules using synthetic and bio-polymers that undergo strong temperature-induced, reversible conformational changes. For example, aptamers, or oligonucleotides with sequence-dependent shape to bind specifically to other molecules, can potentially enable efficient microsystems for analyte extraction. This is demonstrated by capture and concentration of small-molecule analytes by aptamer-functionalized microbeads in a microfluidic chamber, analyte release and device regeneration by thermally-induced, reversible breakage of analyte-aptamer binding, and label-free detection of the released analyte by mass spectrometry.

Qiao Lin is an Associate Professor in the Mechanical Engineering Department at Columbia University. He received the Ph.D. degree in Mechanical Engineering from Caltech in 1998, where he conducted thesis research on optimal planning of robotic manipulation. He was a postdoctoral scholar in Electrical Engineering at Caltech from 1998 to 2000, where he conducted microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) research, focusing on silicon-micromachined fluidic and thermal devices. From 2000 to 2005, he was an Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Carnegie Mellon University. At Columbia since 2005, Dr. Lin pursues research in the design, analysis and fabrication of MEMS and micro/nanofluidic systems for manipulation and characterization of biomolecules.

Sponsored by

WIMS ERC Seminar Series