NACOE/CBE Seminar: Ultrathin Silicon Membranes & Their Application to Biosensing and Tissue Chips
- Thursday, October 3, 2019 from 4:10pm to 5:00pm
- Norm Asbjornson Hall, 165 - view map
Join us for a special Norm Asbjornson College of Engineering Materials Science and CBE Colloquium featuring Dr. James McGrath from University of Rochester.
Prof. McGrath holds degrees in Mech. Eng. from Arizona State (BS), MIT (MS) and a PhD in Biological Engineering from Harvard/MIT's Division of Health Sciences and Technology. He was a Distinguished Post-doctoral Fellow in Biomedical Engineering at Johns Hopkins University. Since 2001, Prof. McGrath has been on the Biomedical Engineering faculty at the University of Rochester. Prior to 2007 Prof. McGrath's research focused on cell migration phenomena, since he has led an interdisciplinary, multi-institutional team developing and applying ultrathin porous membrane technologies. In 2015 he was elected as a fellow of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE). He has co-authored 11 issued and pending patents and more than 75 scientific publications.
Abstract: Now more than a decade after we first used silicon microfabrication to create free-standing ultrathin nanoporous membranes, the materials are realizing their potential to impact multiple disciplines. Today, we manufacture and apply a variety of nanoporous and microporous membranes with the common characteristics that they are ultrathin (15 nm - 300 nm) and made from silicon-containing materials. Because these 'nanomembranes' are orders-of-magnitude thinner than conventional membranes, they are orders-of-magnitude more permeable to both diffusing molecules and pressurized flow. Molecular scale thickness also enhances the resolution of separations when the membranes are used as sieves. High permeability and high-resolution sieving, as well as other expected and unexpected characteristics of nanomembranes, have sparked research programs on topics as disparate as hemodialysis and sensing. This talk will briefly review our progress in establishing the basic science of ultrathin nanoporous and microporous membranes. Through modeling and experimentation, we have developed a fundamental understanding of convective and diffusive flows, sieving behavior, fouling, membrane mechanics, and electrokinetic phenomenon. I will then discuss two particularly promising applications of nanomembranes: 1) sensing and 2) substrates for the construction of models of barrier "tissue chip” models. As sensors, nanomembranes are being used as both pre-filters that improve the performance of other sensors, and as sensors themselves. They are applied to the detection of disease biomarkers from raw biofluids in ‘liquid biopsies,’ and to the capture and analysis of microplastics from the environment and consumer beverages. As permeable, transparent, and porous substrates for 'tissue chips,’ nanomembranes have been used to create in vitro models of blood-brain-barriers (BBB) in studies of multiple sclerosis, and as screens to discover the genetic basis of Staphylococcus aureus infection of cortical bone.