Tiny Tools to Fight Big Diseases – Micro-/Nano-Systems for Discovery, Diagnosis and Therapy

Speaker Name: 
Aniruddh Sarkar
Speaker Title: 
Postdoctoral Research Fellow
Speaker Organization: 
Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School
Start Time: 
Thursday, February 21, 2019 - 12:00pm
End Time: 
Thursday, February 21, 2019 - 1:00pm
Hamid Sadjadpour


Individual functional building blocks of life (e.g. cells, biomolecules) exist and interact at the micrometer to nanometer length scales. This creates a unique opportunity for exploiting microscale and nanoscale physical phenomena to develop technology for precision and personalized biology and medicine. Utilizing decades of advances in semiconductor scaling, micro/nano-engineered devices and systems offer high sensitivity and resolution in analyzing and manipulating biological entities while also achieving automation and high throughput at a low cost. In this talk, I will highlight the development and application of a few such micro-/nano-fabricated devices and systems from my prior and current work including: a) Devices for basic discovery science: We developed microscale electrical, hydrodynamic, and mechanical confinement techniques to achieve million-fold physical enhancement in sensitivity of bioassays without changing assay chemistry. As an example application of this, I will discuss an integrated microfluidic probe for direct measurement and manipulation of single cells from tissue or tissue culture platforms. This enables novel experiments furthering the understanding of the ubiquitous yet unexplained cell-to-cell heterogeneity observed in complex diseases such as cancer. b) Devices for clinical diagnosis and therapy: We developed integrated multiplexed electrical detection and microfluidic sample preparation techniques for discovery and detection of novel biomarkers. This enables accurate yet inexpensive and minimally invasive diagnosis of a variety of diseases and is especially valuable for infectious disease diagnostics in resource-poor settings. As an example application of this, I will discuss the discovery of novel sugar-based biomarkers for Tuberculosis (TB) and their detection in an inexpensive point-of-care system.


Aniruddh Sarkar is a postdoctoral research fellow at Massachusetts General Hospital and at Harvard Medical School. He is also a visiting research scientist at the Research Laboratory of Electronics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, from where he received his Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. Earlier, he received his bachelors and masters degrees in Electrical Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay in India. His research interests are at the intersection of electrical engineering with biology and medicine with a specific current focus on utilizing micro- and nano-technology and electronics to build tools to further the prevention, diagnosis and therapy of human disease.