Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



Document Type



Polymer micro- and nanofluidic systems, with their critical dimensions, offer a potential to outperform conventional analysis techniques and diagnostic methods by enhancing speed, accuracy, sensitivity and specificity. In this work, applications of microfluidics have been demonstrated to address the existing challenges in stroke diagnosis, by mRNA expression profiling from whole blood within <20 min. A brief overview of various biomarkers for stroke diagnosis is given in chapter 1 followed by design and testing of individual microfluidic modules (chapter 2 and 3) required for the development of POC diagnostic strategy for stroke. We have designed and evaluated the performance of polymer microfluidic devices for the isolation of leukocyte subsets, known for their differential gene expression in the event of stroke. Target cells (T-cells and neutrophils) were selected from with greater purities, from 50 µl whole human blood by using affinity based capture in COC devices within a 6.6 min processing time. In addition, we have also demonstrated the ability to isolate and purify total RNA by using UV activated polycarbonate solid phase extraction platform. Polymer-based nanofluidic devices were used to study the effects of surface charge on the electrodynamic transport dynamics of target molecules. In this work, we report the fabrication of mixed-scale micro- and nanofluidic networks in poly(methylmethacrylate), PMMA, using thermal nanoimprint lithography using a resin stamp and surface modification of polymer nanoslits and nanochannels for the assessment of the associated electrokinetic parameters – surface charge density, zeta potential and electroosmotic flow. This study provided information on possible routes that can be adopted to engineer proper wall chemistry of polymer nanochannels for the enhancement or reduction of solute/wall interactions in a variety of relevant single-molecule studies.



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Committee Chair

Soper, Steven

Included in

Chemistry Commons