New FAU Faculty Member Brings Innovative Research Ideas and Expertise in Microfluidics and Biosensing to the University

New FAU Faculty Member Brings Innovative Research Ideas and Expertise in  Microfluidics and Biosensing to the University

E. (Sarah) Du, Ph.D. recently joined Florida Atlantic University’s Department of Ocean and Mechanical Engineering as an assistant professor after working as a postdoctoral fellow at Massachusetts Institute of Technology.  Du’s research focuses on developing innovative microfluidic platforms for the study of relationships between the biophysical properties of cells and certain diseases.

"I am very excited to join the FAU team," said, Du. "My research goals are to develop methods for determining the onset and progression of certain diseases and to make the diagnosis of these diseases easier for the patient and healthcare providers."

"We are very pleased to have Dr. Du join the College of Engineering and Computer Science," said Javad Hashemi, Ph.D., chair of the department of ocean and mechanical engineering at FAU. "Her research into cell behavior and how that information can be communicated to portable devices will help revolutionize diagnostic testing in the healthcare system."

While working at MIT Du was the lead author of the research team that developed a small microfluidic device that analyzes the behavior of blood from sickle cell disease patients. The device measures how long it takes blood cells to become perilously firm, increasing their likelihood of getting caught in blood vessels. When sickle-shaped cells get stuck in tiny capillaries, tissues are deprived of oxygen, resulting in painful bouts known as vaso-occlusive crisis.

"In the future, the MIT device could be used to monitor blood behavior of sickle cell patients using very small blood specimens," said Du. "Patients' abnormal blood behavior could then be used as a potential diagnostic indicator of these attacks to help prevent them."

Du's personal research site.

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Read More About the MIT Sickle Cell Device:
The MIT research team includes Ming Dao, a principal research scientist in MIT's Department of Materials Science and Engineering; Subra Suresh, president of Carnegie Mellon University, former dean of MIT's School of Engineering, and Vannevar Bush Professor of Engineering Emeritus; Monica Diez-Silva, a former research scientist in MIT's Department of Materials Science and Engineering; and Gregory Kato of the Department of Medicine at the University of Pittsburgh.

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences – Kinetics of sickle cell biorheology and implications for painful vasoocclusive crisis.

MIT News

January 29, 2015