Development of an electromechanical flow-cytometry based cell stimulation system

Department / Centre
Biochemistry and Pharmacology
Bio21 Molecular Science and Biotechnology Institute
Primary Supervisor Email Number Webpage
Dr Daniel Scott

Summary The Receptor Structure and Drug Discovery Laboratory (Scott Group) is primarily focused on the investigation of membrane proteins, a class of proteins that are particularly unstable, yet are highly important as they are the main targets for most prescription drugs. We use novel technology (CHESS) to engineer stabilised membrane proteins, particularly neuropeptide-binding G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs), to aid in elucidating the atomic level mechanisms that govern their function and to facilitate novel drug discovery.

Project Details

Cellular activity is based on reactions that occur over incredibly short time scales, with many signalling cascades occurring in less than a millisecond. Despite this, the current suite of cell analysis instrumentation is unable to probe this activity in any high-throughput way. For example, current gold-standard flow cytometry systems require cells of interest to be first loaded into a chamber, whereafter they are individually analysed. However, this process is only ideal for detecting cellular properties that remain constant over time; there is no flow-cytometry based mechanism to detect a cell’s short time-scale reactions in a cell’s biochemical environment. In this project the student will work to develop a microfluidic system to rapidly inject and mix stimulants with cell samples immediately prior to optical detection in a flow cytometry instrument, thus permitting a new window into short-duration cellular processes. This work has important implications for drug discovery and fundamental biological research. This interdisciplinary project lies at the intersection of biomedical engineering and cell biology and is suited towards a student with an interest in developing aspects of this project related to engineering, electronics or design.

School Research Themes

Cell Signalling

Key Contact

For further information about this research, please contact a supervisor.

Department / Centre

Biochemistry and Pharmacology

Research Node

Bio21 Molecular Science and Biotechnology Institute

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