Microarray performance enhancement using microfluidic mixing

Period of Performance: 07/01/2017 - 06/30/2018


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Rheomics, Inc.
Principal Investigator


ABSTRACT Microarray assays are a powerful, cost-effective clinical tool for discovery and diagnosis, and have point-of-care diagnostic applications such as rapid and accurate detection of infections. The application of microarray analysis to routine point-of-care warrants both speed and high quality of the data. In conventional microarray assays, analyte transport sharply limits assay performance as binding of static target analytes to surface-attached probes depends solely on diffusion, which is very slow and requires a long time (12 to 66 hours) or is limited to a fraction of the target resulting in poor sensitivity, except for the highest-concentration analytes. Current microfluidic mixing technologies present several disadvantages such as complex instrumentation, damage to the delicate biological samples, heterogeneity in sensitivity or time- consuming protocols. Hence, novel methods to improve microarray assay performance, namely, sensitivity and time-to-result (TTR), are in high demand. In this project, we will demonstrate dramatic improvement to microarray sensitivity and TTR by implementing a novel microfluidic transport technology called Actuated Surface-Attached Posts (ASAP). Unlike other microfluidic mixing methods, ASAP mixing does not increase the required sample volume, require externally pumped flow, raise sample temperature, or induce high shear stress that can damage analytes. The ASAP film can be used in a wide variety of biofluids including whole blood, and the ASAP film can be rendered chemically inert. ASAPs integrate easily with diagnostic consumables, and will therefore provide a cost-effective enhancement to existing microarray methods with minor modification to existing instruments.