Bio-Sensors: We are engineering biological sensors through systematic reconstruction of natural proteins (e.g. transcriptional factors) or nucleic acids (e.g. riboswitches) to provide a fluorescent signal that is quantitatively indicative of biological activity. Upon optimization, we use these synthetic biosensors to investigate various cell signaling pathways and for high-throughput analytics. Effective engineering requires detailed information about molecular structures and thermodynamics of binding and stability landscapes of the sensor and its target. We are able to screen hundreds of sensors designed with a range of structural modifications in various conditions on microfluidic large-scale integration (mLSI) platforms. Our engineering vision is to build plug-and-play microfluidic devices to obtain customized fluorescence reporters for in vitro and vivo detection of metabolites.
Microsystems-Sensors: We are engineering thin metal film oxygen, carbon dioxide and glucose sensors compatible with mLSI chip platforms for characterizing metabolic rates of human cell cultures on chip. Preferentially, the microsystems sensors are designed for live time monitoring of the cells with fluorescence readout technologies. The goal is to control and monitor fluctuations of the micro-environments to understand cell signaling responses.