Advisor: Krishnendu Roy, Ph.D. (Biomedical Engineering-Georgia Institute of Technology and Emory University)
Robert Guldberg, Ph.D. (Mechanical Engineering-Georgia Institute of Technology)
Hang Lu, Ph.D. (Chemical Engineering-Georgia Institute of Technology)
Valarie Milam, Ph.D. (Materials Science and Engineering-Georgia Institute of Technology)
Johnna Temenoff, Ph.D. (Biomedical Engineering-Georgia Institute of Technology and Emory University)
High throughput, high replicate screening of materials using flow cytometry
Due to challenges inherent in biological research, the study of how material structure contributes to cell function is plagued by high variability and non-reproducible data, which leads to waste of time and resources. In order to bring the statistical power of a study to an acceptable level, the best solution often is to miniaturize samples while increasing replicate number. However, this introduces new organizational challenges during both experimentation and analysis, and still does not resolve the limitations of population-based analyses. Currently there is no widely accessible system for high replicate, high-throughput, non-destructive screening of material-encapsulated cells and this limits our ability to study how material structure can be engineered to control cell function.
Flow cytometry can be used to solve this problem. The technology allows for the automated collection of a large number of unique events in a short time period, which can be combined to characterize a large population. By multiplexing microparticle shape, size, and fluorescence as variables in flow cytometry, a high-throughput, high replicate, rapid assay system will be developed. This will enable the simultaneous study of many parameters, reduce experimental variability, and provide population data with single cell resolution. Due to their history in the field of tissue engineering, polymeric hydrogels for the differentiation of bone marrow stem cells into chondrocytes were chosen as a model system. The proposed project will compare the potentials of many materials for chondrogenic differentiation and demonstrate a high-throughput materials screening platform that will be widely applicable to other areas of research.