Date of Completion
magnetophoresis, point of care, medical diagnostics, single-cell manipulation, 3D printing, sickle cell disease
Field of Study
Doctor of Philosophy
Modern technological advancements allow us to study human cells with an extraordinary level of detail and accuracy. However, the impact of these technologies on public health remains limited by their complexity, cost, and inaccessibility. Hence, there is a need for user-friendly, inexpensive tools that can be used at the point of care, in limited-resource settings, and at home. Therefore, we aim to develop a platform technology that can perform a variety of medical diagnostics to rapidly provide important information in order to best inform medical decisions. Magnetophoresis is a phenomenon that enables precise manipulation of particles that do not necessarily have magnetic properties by suspending them in a paramagnetic medium. In previous studies, magnetophoresis has been utilized to manipulate singe cells on the basis of their inherent properties, such as density, which can be indicative of cell type, disease state, etc.; however, current setups are not compatible with the point of care, limited-resource settings, or home use. Here, we develop integrated devices that levitate cells in a magnetic field, image their spatial distribution, and interpret this distribution to return quantitative results. In Aim 1, we utilize 3D printing to prototype and develop user-friendly medical diagnostic tools based on the use of magnetophoresis to manipulate single cells, including two versions: a smartphone-compatible version and a self-contained version. Aim 2 is to expand the developed platform with flow-assisted magnetophoresis and fluorescence imaging. Aim 3 is to validate the proposed tool as a platform technology by demonstrating useful clinical applications including sickle cell disease diagnosis and white blood cell cytometry. Aim 4 is to investigate the commercial potential of this concept by speaking directly with key stakeholders in the market. Herein, we demonstrate a diagnostic platform that is user-friendly and highly accessible at the point of care, in limited-resource settings, or in the user’s own home. With further clinical validation, we expect that the proposed technology will enable personalized medicine by facilitating global access to important medical diagnostics.
Knowlton, Stephanie, "Developing Portable Tools Based on Magnetophoresis for Accessible Clinical Diagnostics" (2019). Doctoral Dissertations. 2114.