Research

Enzymatic assays for measuring HIV medication concentrations.

Maintaining therapeutic levels of antiretroviral (ARV) drugs used in HIV treatment and prevention is critical, and yet ≥25% of people receiving ARVs do not maintain adequate adherence. Sub-therapeutic drug concentrations put people at risk for developing drug-resistant infections, immune dysregulation, and death. We recently developed the REverSe TRanscrIptase Chain Termination (RESTRICT) enzymatic assay for rapid (≤ 30 min) measurement of nucleotide reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NRTIs) – the backbone of HIV treatment and prevention regimens and thus an optimal target for HIV TDM. RESTRICT measures NRTI concentrations based on the drug's inhibition of DNA chain termination. RESTRICT has immediate applications for measuring adherence to HIV medication in clinical practice and behavioral science studies. We are also developing other rapid enzymatic assays for therapeutic monitoring of other classes of HIV medications.

Collaborators: Jonathan Posner, Paul Drain, Jose Castillo-Mancilla, Pete Anderson

Capillary microfluidics for self-powered and self-regulated liquid delivery

Microfluidic devices have the potential to miniaturize and automate various liquid handling processes in basic and translational research. Despite their potential, the promise of "lab-on-a-chip" devices remains unfulfilled in part because of the strong reliance on bulky and expensive equipment for flow control. We developed autonomous capillary microfluidic devices that are self-powered and self-regulated by surface tension forces defined by microchannel geometry and surface chemistry, and without any external equipment. We develop design rules for capillary microfluidics based on electric-hydraulic analogies, 3D-print capillary microfluidics for rapid and inexpensive design iteration, and conduct proof of concept experiments to demonstrate sophisticated liquid handling capabilities. Capillary microfluidics are application-agnostic liquid handling devices that may have a wide range of applications including molecular assays, synthetic biology, and chemical synthesis.

Collaborators: Alshakim Nelson

Sensit-IV: Open-Flow Microperfusion for Shock Evaluation & Treatment

We are developing a minimally-invasive, real-time, wearable device for monitoring shock severity and assessing treatment efficacy. This project combines Open-Flow Microperfusion, Molecular Assays, and Microfluidic Automation.

Collaborators: Catherine Beni