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The minimally manipulative separation of mammalian cells using surface acoustic wave-induced dielectrophoresis

Wednesday 31 January 2018, 1.30PM to 15:00

Speaker(s): Dr Chris Wood, University of Leeds


The ability to separate specific cell types from heterogeneous cell ensembles is fundamental to a growing number of state-of-the-art and emerging medical procedures. The increasing importance of these therapies is overshadowed by technological shortfalls in the efficient, minimally manipulative enrichment of specific, viable cell populations within intra-operative timescales. In particular, stem cell therapies require rapid, label-free enrichment of target populations to enable single-procedure autologous stem cell transplants, and to avoid post-operative cell expansion using Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) facilities. Therefore in order to reduce costs, patient morbidity and complications arising from multiple surgical procedures, a fast, label-free cell separation technology is highly desirable. Current separation techniques (e.g. centrifugation or antibody-based selection such as MACS and FACS) are slow, exhibit poor specificity and/or require laborious and expensive labelling. Here we present a new cell separation technology that employs remote dielectrophoresis, in which an electric field is coupled into a microfluidic channel using surface acoustic waves. This produces an array of virtual-electrodes on the microfluidic channel surface, allowing: (a) dielectrophoretic cell separation without the significant drawbacks of conventional electrode-based dielectrophoresis; (b) direction of different cells into physically distinct channels, allowing continuous-throughput separation; and, (c) compatibility with high conductivity, physiological fluids.


Dr Christopher Wood is a lecturer in Nanoscale Science and Technology at the University of Leeds. He graduated in 2002 with a 1st class BSc (Hons) in Physics with Electronics and Instrumentation at Leeds, and went on to earn an MSc (dist.) in Nanoscale Science and Technology with the University of Sheffield. He then returned to Leeds to complete his PhD in ‘On-Chip Terahertz Systems’ in 2007, where he remained as a PDRA until 2012 before being awarded a 5-year tenure-track University Research Fellowship, which ended with promotion to his current position in January 2017. His work focuses on the implementation of high-frequency (MHz – THz) engineering solutions for the manipulation and control of biological material, including mammalian cells, bacteria and proteins, working in collaboration with the NHSBT-TES and Wellcome Trust, and of mesoscopic semiconductor systems in collaboration with NPL and University College London. He is also manager of the University of Leeds Wolfson Nanotechnology Cleanroom, housing over £6M-worth of state-of-the-art technology, supporting micro-and nano-fabrication for research activities across the UK.



Location: PL002

Admission: Free


Telephone: 4485

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