Our laboratory’s mission is to develop miniature cell culture tools for quantitative cell biology studies. In particular, we apply micro- and nanofabrication techniques to quantitatively design the micro/nanofluidic environment and/or the underlying substrate of cultured cells under large numbers of conditions.

We apply this methodology to address central neurobiology questions such as synaptogenesis (muscle cells), axon guidance (neuronal cells), and olfaction, as well as for studies of cell migration (neutrophils and fibroblasts).

The use of micro- and nanotechnology allows us to:

1) Recreate micrometer-scale in-vivo interactions between the cell and its surroundings (e.g. substrate, other cells, and medium) which are lost in present-day in-vitro studies;

2) Simultaneously interrogate large numbers of cells at a single-cell or subcellular scale, thereby minimizing cost and animal suffering while obtaining statistically-rich data on single-cell behavior;

3) Automate fluid handling and produce combinatorial amounts of mixtures, while minimizing reagent consumption and waste disposal to nanoliter scales;

4) Fabricate accurate micro- and nanochannel structures that are amenable to microfluidic dynamics modeling, in order to quantitatively design the microfluidic environment of cells.