Speaker: Joshua Heinemann, doctoral student
Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry, Montana State University
Date: Wednesday, December 4, 2013
Time: 4:10 PM
Place: Byker Auditorium, Chemistry & Biochemistry Building
Title: Development of Microfluidics Technology for “Real-Time” Analysis of Metabolism
Summary: Increased medical costs are expected to grow faster than national income in the coming years. In the public sector, Medicare provides medical care for the elderly and people with disabilities, and Medicaid provides care for low-income families. Enrollment in both programs has increased due to the aging of the baby boomers and the economic recession. Most disease develops over time, as in the case of cancer where tumors can proceed from benign to malignant and eventually to metastasis. Preventative medicine seeks to identify early indicators of developing disease, looking for specific biomarkers that can be used for early detection. When disease prognosis can be made early, treatment and life style changes are less extreme and the patient has a greater probability of survival, all of which significantly reduce the cost of medical care and economic burden.
The human metabolism is comprised of a large set of small molecules that vary in their concentrations depending upon what you eat, what diseases you have and your age. Like a road map, your metabolism can be used to follow the progression of aging and disease over time. Heinemann’s research is focused on developing technology that will allow researchers to measure biological activity and concentration of metabolites in real-time using microfluidics and mass spectrometry. He is part of a team that is developing microfluidic chips that can couple biological systems to computational systems to make real-time metabolic measurements. Cells are processed and directly measured for changes in metabolism, which will significantly increase our ability to follow physiological change associated with disease and stress. Development of this technology is important for preemptive treatment or intervention of disease. The microfluidic technology also has the advantages of low-cost components and biocompatibility, allowing direct integration into a living system.
About the speaker: Josh studies metabolism, and is focused on developing technology that will allow researchers to measure changes in metabolism in “real-time” using microfluidics and mass spectrometry. Using this technology living cells are processed and directly measured for changes associated with disease and stress. Development of this technology is important for preemptive treatment or intervention of disease. Microfluidic technology also has the advantages of low cost components and biocompatibility allowing direct integration into a living system.
He is the recipient of a 2012 Kopriva Graduate Student Fellowship.