Bashir designs device to measure cells

 Subscribe to ECE ILLINOIS News

By Bridget Maiellaro, ECE Illinois
September 22, 2008

  • Professor Rashid Bashir and his group constructed a new cantilever array used to detect the mass of individual adherent live cells in fluid.
  • Bashir is working on these next-generation sensors that will get more information on cell mass and growth.
  • Bashir is working with researchers at Harvard Medical School and Purdue University.

ECE Professor Rashid Bashir constructed a new cantilever array to get more information on cell mass and cell growth. As cells grow on cantilevers, changes in cell mass can be monitored through a change in the resonance frequency of the cantilevers.
ECE Professor Rashid Bashir constructed a new cantilever array to get more information on cell mass and cell growth. As cells grow on cantilevers, changes in cell mass can be monitored through a change in the resonance frequency of the cantilevers.

Rashid Bashir, Abel Bliss Professor of the Departments of Electrical and Computer Engineering and Bioengineering, and his students led the development of one of the latest lab-on-a-chip technology. In conjunction with researchers at Harvard Medical School and Purdue University, Bashir and his group constructed a new cantilever array used to detect the mass of individual adherent live cells in fluid.

"We are working towards finding and designing next generation sensors to get more information on cell mass and cell growth," Bashir said. "We are striving to develop silicon based-sensors for detection and characterization of cells.... This method allows us to measure the mass of a single, adherent cell in fluid, when the cell is attached to a surface."

Designed similar to a diving board in a swimming pool, the microfluidic silicon cantilevers consist of a bases and suspended structures, or beams that vibrate. In order to measure the mass of individual cells, the researchers use a layer of polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS), a silicon-based organic polymer, to form a channel above the cantilevers.

"By covering the device, we essentially create a linear, microfluidic channel, allowing fluid to flow above the cantilever," Bashir said.

After creating the channel, researchers flow fluid to coat the surface with proteins, helping cells bind and grow on the device. The cells are captured by applying voltage to the cantilevers as a way to trap and attract new cells. Researchers allow the attached cells to grow for approximately 24 hours. They then extract the cell mass through resonance frequency measurements, shining a laser beam on the device.

"We measure resonance frequency before and after the cell is attached," Bashir said. "And using the changes in the frequency, we can then calculate the mass of the cells."

The research project is funded by a National Science Foundation grant through Ohio State University. Results of their research can be found in the group’s paper, entitled "'Living cantilever arrays' for characterization of mass of single live cells in fluids," which was published in Lab on Chip earlier this year.

 

Rashid  Bashir
Rashid Bashir

About Bashir:

Rashid Bashir has been a Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering and the director of Micro and Nanotechnology Laboratory since October 2007. Bashir is co-founder of BioVitesse, a privately owned biotechnology company that has developed integrated bacterial detection systems since February 2002.

Bashir earned his bachelor’s in electrical engineering Summa Cum Laude from Texas Tech University in December 1987. He then went on to earn his master’s in electrical engineering and PhD from Purdue University in 1989 and 1992, respectively.

Upon graduation, Bashir worked in the Analog/Mixed Signal Process Technology Development Group until 1998 as senior engineering manager, when he joined Purdue University. While there, Bashir served as an assistant professor, associate, and professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, as well as a courtesy professor of biomedical engineering and mechanical engineering.

Over the years, Bashir has held many other professional positions that have contributed to his current research. He was the Scientific Director of Bionanotechnology for Discovery Park at Purdue since September 2004 and has served as a visiting professor of Surgery at Harvard Medical School since April 2006.

Bashir has authored or co-authored more than 150 journal and conference papers and abstracts, given more than 50 invited talks, and has 30 patents.

Editor's note: media inquiries should be directed to Brad Petersen, Director of Communications, at bradp@illinois.edu or (217) 244-6376.

 Subscribe to ECE ILLINOIS News