The ability to analyze the properties of individual cells is critical for a wide range of life science applications, from diagnosing disease and developing better treatments to characterizing pathogenic bacteria and developing cells for bioproduction applications. Accurate analysis of individual cells, however, is a challenge, especially when it comes to the biophysical properties of cells, because properties vary widely between cells even within the same cell population, and within larger cell populations Rare cell types also exist.
In response to this need, Dr. Arum Han, Texas Instruments II Professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Texas A&M University, and his graduate students and postdoctoral researchers have developed a new technique to accurately analyze cellular properties by using single-cell electrospinning microfluidics devices, It uses electric fields to probe the properties of cells.
The technique works by first capturing individual cells in a microfluidic device using an electric field, then applying a rotating electric field to spin the captured individual cells, and then measuring the rotational speed. By knowing the input electric field parameters and analyzing the rotational speed, it is possible to accurately analyze the dielectric properties of individual cells.
“By knowing how much force is being applied and how fast the cell is turning, you can extract many basic biophysical properties of the cell,” Han said.
Efforts have been made to achieve this before, but this technique is the most accurate in measuring these properties because of its ability to apply a high-frequency electric field (up to 100 MHz) and use an eight-electrode pair design to measure these properties. Simultaneously capture individual cells and apply rotational forces to the captured cells.
The research team’s findings were published in Biomedical Micro Devices.
This technology is well developed and used in a number of different cellular analysis applications. Yuwen Li, a graduate student in Han’s lab and lead author of the work, successfully demonstrated that the analysis of one cell at a time can be done accurately, and is now leading the further development of the technique so that it can be performed in a short period of time. Higher speed and targeting many cells simultaneously.
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Yuwen Li et al., using electrospinning to measure the dielectric properties of cells at single-cell resolution, Biomedical Micro Devices (2022). DOI: 10.1007/s10544-022-00621-3
Provided by Texas A&M University College of Engineering
Citation: New technology developed for single-cell analysis (25 October 2022) Retrieved 25 October 2022 from https://phys.org/news/2022-10-technology-single-cell-analysis.html
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