BioE Seminar: “Examining cellular signaling in complex environments with microscale systems”

Seminar | March 1 | 12-1 p.m. | 290 Hearst Memorial Mining Building

 Ashleigh Theberge, University of Washington

 Bioengineering (BioE)

Spring 2017 Seminar Series

Wednesday, March 1
12noon - 1:00pm
290 Hearst Mining Building

“Examining cellular signaling in complex environments with microscale systems”

Ashleigh Theberge
Assistant Professor of Chemistry - University of Washington
Adjunct Assistant Professor of Urology - University of Washington School of Medicine

Small molecule and protein signals provide a rich vocabulary for cellular communication. To better understand these signaling processes in both normal and disease states, there is a growing need for cell culture platforms that interface with analytical chemistry tools and recreate key features of the in vivo cell microenvironment. We have developed new microfluidic methods for cell culture that (1) integrate organic solvents for small molecule extraction facilitating downstream metabolomic analysis using mass spectrometry and (2) accommodate the culture of multiple cell types in microfabricated compartments connected via channels to facilitate soluble factor signaling. Our microscale culture systems allow a 10- to 500-fold reduction in volume compared to conventional assays, enabling experiments with limited cells from patient samples. Furthermore, our devices are open, pipette accessible, and mass-producible by rapid injection molding, increasing translation to collaborators in biological and clinical labs without engineering expertise. This talk will highlight our recent work studying the interplay between cell types in prostate disease and asthma.