BioE COLLOQUIA SERIES: "Subcellular Electrophysiology as a Phenotype for Biological Function and Disease" - via web streaming only (Covid-19 situation)


Event details

Date 04.05.2020 15:0016:00  
Speaker Prof. Nathan S. Swami, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA (USA)
Category Conferences - Seminars

Cellular heterogeneity due to subtle phenotypic differences are difficult to detect, but can have far reaching consequences for biological function, disease onset and efficacy of therapeutic interventions. Flow cytometry is widely used to characterize cell phenotype, but its inability to consistently define surface markers for certain stem cells, tumor cells and pathogenic microbials has led to the search for alternate phenotypic metrics. Our research group is focused on cell electrophysiology as a label-free cell phenotypic metric that aggregates its biophysical properties due to inherent and micro-environmental factors. Through frequency-resolved measurements, we use this electrical phenotype to quantify whole-cell characteristics, such as size and shape at sub-MHz, as well as to subcellular characteristics that can be measured at successively higher frequencies, including the plasma membrane structure, cytoplasmic composition, nucleus size, osmotic swelling and organelle structure. Through coupling microfluidic separation by selective translation of polarized cells under a non-uniform electric field to high-throughput single-cell measurement of cell impedance under a uniform electric field, we seek to analyze the role for subcellular electrophysiology in quantifying heterogeneity to predict biological function and stratify disease states. Specific examples will include: (1) stratifying pancreatic tumorigenicity (Anal. Chim. Acta (2020) 1101, 90-98; Anal Chem (2017) 89, 5757-5764) (2) predicting fate potential of heterogeneous stem cell samples (unpublished); (3) predicting susceptibility of microbiota to clostrodial infections (ACS Infectious Diseases (2020) and (2016) 2, 544-551); (4) stratifying exosomal biomarkers to probe cancer metastasis (Anal Chem (2019) 91, 10424-10431); (5) enrichment of molecular biomarkers versus interfering species (Nanoscale (2017) 9, 12124-12131; Lab Chip (2015) 15, 4563-4570).

Nathan Swami serves as Professor of Electrical & Computer Engineering at the University of Virginia. His group is focused on label-free microfluidics, based on the deformability and impedance characteristics of cellular aggregates, cells, microbials, and nanoscale biomarkers for the enabling their selective enrichment. Some of the chief enablers in his group include imprint lithography for biofabrication, as well as for devices for label-free electrophysiology and deformability-based sorting and cytometry of biosystems. Prior to University of Virginia, he served on the scientific staff of the MEMS group at Motorola Labs and at Clinical Microsensors, Inc., a Caltech start-up. His research seeks to impact in vitro disease models, as well as detection systems within point-of-care and resource-poor settings for precision medicine approaches. (

Zoom link for attending remotely:

IMPORTANT NOTICE: this seminar can be followed via Zoom web-streaming only (link above), due to restrictions resulting from the ongoing Covid-19 situation.

Practical information

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  • Free