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Translational applications 

Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine

Regenerative medicine holds great promise in treating degenerative diseases by stimulating damaged tissues to repair themselves, or replacing them with engineered tissues when the body cannot heal itself.  A fundamental understanding of the regulatory mechanisms in tissue regeneration and the ability to modulate these processes, therefore, are critical to the ultimate success of regenerative medicine.  A central theme of this direction is to integrate 2D/3D tissue models, nanoengineered biosensors, microfluidics cultures, and computational analysis toward systematic interrogation of complex biological systems.  Specific projects include:


  • Mechanoregulation of collective cell migration
  • Endothelial wound healing and angiogenesis
  • Injury induced cancer metastasis


Clinical Diagnostics

mcRapid detection of pathogenic agents is critical towards judicious management of infectious diseases, such as urinary tract infection and sepsis, especially in emergency situations and high-risk areas such as hospitals, airports, rural clinics, and temporary clinics established in response to disasters.  In settings where highly infectious pathogens are suspected, point-of-care detection will lead to timely initiation of appropriate treatments, which will reduce the infected individuals’ morbidity and mortality, as well as address public health concerns by efficient triaging of the uninfected from the infected.  In this research direction, we design and implement a microfluidic-based, point-of-care diagnostic system to address the critical need of rapid identification and quantification of uropathogens.  Specific projects include:


  • Pathogen identification for urinary tract infection and sepsis diagnosis 
  • Single cell antimicrobial susceptibility testing
  • Electrokinetic sample preparation



Microfluidics and Nanotechnology   

Single cell gene expression analysis

The systematic investigation of complex biological systems requires novel biosensors for rapid quantification of the biological events.  Currently, we are developing several innovative molecular schemes for detecting key signaling events (e.g., mRNA, miRNA, protein, and transcription factors) by combining specific recognitions achieved by innovative molecular designs and FRET/quenching transduction mechanisms.  The molecular biosensors are capable of measuring real-time dynamics of cellular events quantitatively.   Using these homogeneous biosensors, we have demonstrated specific detection of single nucleotide mismatch, real-time monitoring of intracellular mRNA hybridization, strain-   specific detection of pathogen 16S rRNA, and separation-free detection of transcription factors. 


AC Electrokinetics

singlemoleculemanipulationElectrokinetics is the study of the motion of bulk fluids or selected objects (e.g., cells and molecules) embedded in fluids when they are subjected to electric fields.  With the recent developments in micro- and nanofabrication, electrokinetics provides effective manipulation techniques in the micro and nano domains, which matches the length scale of various biomolecules.  The ability to directly manipulate objects down to the molecular level opens new avenues for developing the next generation cellular analysis system.  In SBL, we have demonstrated an electrokinetic bioprocessor for mixing and concentrating a large size range of biological objects, including bacteria, double-stranded DNA, and single-stranded DNA fragments that have a radius of gyration of ~3 nm.


Plasma nanolithography

F__01All biological components in the cellular environment have features that are ultimately in the nanometer scale range.  These components interact with cells at all points in their lifecycle providing important clues for cell behavior.  Study of such nanometer scale components is often hindered by technologies that are not well suited for biologically compatible materials or for fabrication at this scale.  Methods to produce nanopatterns typically rely on photolithographically patterned or nanocontact printed surfaces.  These methods however are usually labor intensive, can require complicated surface chemistries, may leave a topographical component, and are less suited to biologically compatible materials, e.g. polymers.  Plasma lithography provides a simple way to pattern surfaces by allowing plasma to contact a surface in nanometer sized regions while blocking plasma contact to other areas.  This creates a chemical pattern on a surface that can control cell behavior and be used to study the effects of nanosized chemical patterns.  This method is inherently scalable and it can treat many kinds of surfaces such as glasses and polymers as well as soft and nonplanar surfaces.







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To introduce the general public about the development of bio-nano-technologies, SBL will develop and maintain a web-based tutorial and exhibits.  Also a download area is also available for downloading SBL materials for education and classroom teaching purpose.



Equipment & Software

Overview of SBL equipment, facilities, and software will be available soon.




We are looking for talented undergraduates with a passion for research. Currently, we have a few projects available. If interested in joining our lab, please contact Dr. Wong with: your name, major, year, and resume.