Two-Phase Microfluidic Systems for High Throughput Quantification of Agglutination Assays
AdvisorsFoulds, Ian G.
Embargo End Date2019-05-15
Permanent link to this recordhttp://hdl.handle.net/10754/627925
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Access RestrictionsAt the time of archiving, the student author of this dissertation opted to temporarily restrict access to it. The full text of this dissertation became available to the public after the expiration of the embargo on 2019-05-15.
AbstractLab-on-Chip, the miniaturization of the chemical and analytical lab, is an endeavor that seems to come out of science fiction yet is slowly becoming a reality. It is a multidisciplinary field that combines different areas of science and engineering. Within these areas, microfluidics is a specialized field that deals with the behavior, control and manipulation of small volumes of fluids. Agglutination assays are rapid, single-step, low-cost immunoassays that use microspheres to detect a wide variety molecules and pathogens by using a specific antigen-antibody interaction. Agglutination assays are particularly suitable for the miniaturization and automation that two-phase microfluidics can offer, a combination that can help tackle the ever pressing need of high-throughput screening for blood banks, epidemiology, food banks diagnosis of infectious diseases. In this thesis, we present a two-phase microfluidic system capable of incubating and quantifying agglutination assays. The microfluidic channel is a simple fabrication solution, using laboratory tubing. These assays are incubated by highly efficient passive mixing with a sample-to-answer time of 2.5 min, a 5-10 fold improvement over traditional agglutination assays. It has a user-friendly interface that that does not require droplet generators, in which a pipette is used to continuously insert assays on-demand, with no down-time in between experiments at 360 assays/h. System parameters are explored, using the streptavidin-biotin interaction as a model assay, with a minimum detection limit of 50 ng/mL using optical image analysis. We compare optical image analysis and light scattering as quantification methods, and demonstrate the first light scattering quantification of agglutination assays in a two-phase ow format. The application can be potentially applied to other biomarkers, which we demonstrate using C-reactive protein (CRP) assays. Using our system, we can take a commercially available CRP qualitative slide agglutination assay, and turn it into a quantitative High Sensitivity-CRP test, with a lower detection limit of 0.5 mg/L using light scattering. Agglutination assays are an incredibly versatile tool, capable of detecting an ever-growing catalog of infectious diseases, proteins and metabolites. A system such as that presented in this thesis is a step towards being able to produce high throughput microfluidic solutions with widespread adoption.