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Research

 
 

  Our Collaborators

Christensen Lab

 

Group

Bio-Nanomechanics Lab




 

Gracious Sponsors of Our Research

UTA College of Engineering
 

UTA Department of Electrical Engineering
 


 


 

We pursue two important directions in our group:

  1. Novel Structures for the Biologically Important Detection
    Solid State fabrication technology has matured over decades and is now identified as a key component for realizing novel nano-structures. We focus on developing devices and systems for the detection of biologically important molecules. Such sensors interface the top-down nano-fabrication capabilities with bottom-up molecular recognition and selectivity. The nanoscale biosensors benefit from the functionalized surfaces exhibiting extremely specific and ultra-sensitive detection properties.

  2. Biologically Mediated Fabrication
    As the need of scaling viable sensors increases, natural bio-molecular recognition can play important role in enabling precise alignment and control of functional devices. The special chemical properties of such molecules are explored for fabrication at the nano-scales.

Some of our projects

Detection of DNA and Protein using CMOS based chips.

This project uses CMOS chips to detect DNA and Proteins. Early and specific detection of DNA and proteins can change medical diagnostics. The present day disease detection methods are mainly optometric; with high false hits, low detection sensitivity and need for specialized equipment.  A few steps are needed to detect the presence of a biological specimen.

We aim at developing sensors which can detect a biological specimen in a single step. The approach has to be specific and selective.  This can produce a portable, cost effective, easy to use sensor that could be produced at large scale.

In such a sensor, a biological specimen (DNA or Protein) can be strategically placed between two sensing interfaces with few nanometer separation.  The presence of the biological specimen and its associated charges can provide a signal.  Changes in conductivity can be related to the target molecule.  This can specifically tell the type of the biological specimen.

    

 

Functionalized Microfluidics for Biomarker Detection

This thrust is focused on developing devices for continuous low-abundant protein purification instead of conventional affinity and ion-chromatography (that are limited to bed volume and type of immobilization molecules).  The push is to optimize for easy integration with microfluidics systems and to provide in-situ protein purification.  Applications of this work include early disease detection from biomarkers.

    


Self-aligned Nano-Channels

This thrust aims at developing nano-channels to detect proteins and DNA.  Solid-state nanopores have emerged as possible next-generation gene-sequencing devices.  With the bio-compatibility of polymers like PDMS, we can make very specific, portable, and cost effective nanoporous membranes at mass-scale with better noise, ease of fabrication and elegance for use in various measurement setups for DNA sequencing.  The PDMS chemical and physical properties are quite flexible and respond to various microenvironment.

  

Outreach

Experiments, Hands-on Demonstrations and Talks on "Nanotechnology", "Bionanotechnology" and "Electrical Engineering":

  • Tracks4Grads for Undergraduates of UTA: Introducing graduate research opportunities (April 24, 2008) (1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12,13,14)
  • Grade 9-10 Engineering Summer Camp (June 10, 2008) (1,2,3)
  • Grade 7-8 Engineering Summer Camp (June 17, 2008) (1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12,13,14,15)
  • Grade 6-8 Engineering Summer Camp (June 24, 2008) (1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12,13,14,15,16,17,18)
  • Girlgeneering (Girls Engineering and Computer Science) Summer Camp (July 30, 2008) (1,2,3,4,5,6,7)