On-campus research with Thomas Carey, a UC Berkeley graduate student, in Professor Lydia Sohn’s lab (UC Berkeley Mechanical Engineering Department):
To address the lack of trained personnel and monetary funds in low-resource settings, we are developing a point-of-care (POC) device to detect tumor-derived exosomes in saliva. The ability to isolate exosomes from a patient’s saliva and match the surface markers against those linked to illnesses would dramatically improve early stage cancer diagnosis in developing countries.
The main platform used is resistive pore sensing (RPS): particles are pumped through a pore, displacing conductive fluid and causing a transient increase in electrical resistance. This is measured as a decrease in electrical current that is proportional to the volume fraction of the particle in the pore. Exosomes with different surface markers would correspond to different decreases in current due to their different sizes.
In this research setting, I constantly gain experience in designing experiments with appropriate controls. I also build custom equipment and fixtures for use in experiments: for example, a magnetic tube rack for use with magnetic colloids would normally cost $600+, but I built a low cost custom version with just $30 (image in slideshow above). I assist in data collection and analysis using LabVIEW and MATLAB, and photomask design for photolithography in AutoCAD.
MATLAB data analysis, AutoCAD (photolithography mask design), Photolithography, Soft Lithography, Design of experiments, Cell culture (cancerous cell lines)