Research in the Anand group will focus on the development of microfluidic technologies that address critical needs in cancer and kidney disease. Our current research goals are: to model aspects of tumor metastasis and cancer evolution with the goal of identifying potential therapeutic strategies, and to create an alternative strategy to hemodialysis that will allow more highly efficient, miniaturized, and wearable technology for patients affected by kidney disease. These aims will be accomplished using recently developed electrokinetic and tissue-on-chip strategies as well as analytical tools such as on-chip separations, electrochemical sensing, and advanced imaging techniques. Students in the Anand group will learn about microdevice design and fabrication, tissue culture, fluorescence and confocal microscopy, electrochemistry, electrokinetic techniques (such as DEP manipulation of biological cells), and finite element simulations.
We most recently developed a new approach to DEP that overcomes its primary disadvantage, namely, that DEP force generated by an electric field gradient near an electrode is effective over a very short distance (tens of microns). This achievement was accomplished by leveraging faradaic reactions at an ultramicroelectrode in a microfluidic channel to modulate the local conductivity of the DEP medium. Using this approach, we extended DEP reach to several hundred microns. We are currently applying this extended-field DEP to important research problems such as high-throughput sorting of circulating tumor cells from other cells in the blood.