An optofluidic biological cell stretcher
Project Description

The project aims to extend on an existing optofluidic biological cell stretching technique by using multiple optical tweezers to trap a biological cell in a microfluidic flow while stretching the trapped cell by a fluidic drag force exerted on the cell. The resulting shape deformation of the biological cells allows the cell's elasticity to be measured. The deformation will provide a useful bio-mechanical indicator of the cell's health status. A healthy cell is generally a more elastic cell. The project will study the stretching of cells prepared under different conditions to mimic different health conditions. The project will primarily use rabbit red-blood cells as samples for experiments. Other cells of interest may also be explored in due course.

POON Andrew Wing On
Course type
Applicant's Roles

The student will build upon an existing experimental setup to develop an extended biological cell stretcher with additional functionalities. The student will be working on optics/photonics experiments, and will be involved in fabricating microfluidic chips for the experiments using the HKUST's Nanosystem Fabrication Facility. The student will handle biological cell samples available from the HKUST's Animal and Plant Care Facility. The student will develop an extended version of an image-analysis program using MATLAB and will model the data using commercial simulation software. The student will be involved in developing a prototype of the cell stretcher as a table-top instrument.

Applicant's Learning Objectives

1. To acquire hands-on experiences on optics/photonics and microfluidics experiments for biological applications

2. To analyze research data using commercial simulation software and MATLAB

3. To develop a potential prototype for a table-top instrument based on the research work

Complexity of the project