Sound may be key to separating molecules, cells

Life sciences and biomedical research relies on the ability to separate molecules and cells from biological fluids, but doing so efficiently and with precise control has been a challenge. This is particularly true when the important cells, or targets, need to be isolated from a complex mixture of other microscopic particles, such as in blood.


J. Mark Meacham, associate professor of mechanical engineering and materials science at the McKelvey School of Engineering at Washington University in St. Louis, plans to make progress on a unique microfluidic technology with a four-year $1.5 million technology development grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). A prototype was first designed and fabricated as part of his microfabrication class in 2016 and was further developed by two students in his lab, Mingyang Cui and Michael M. Binkley, who earned doctorates in mechanical engineering from the engineering school in 2021 and 2019, respectively.

The technology is based on a microfluidic subunit that controls the motion of very small objects, from the microscale to the nanoscale, for separation, enrichment or confinement.

Read more on the engineering website.

Leave a Comment

Comments and respectful dialogue are encouraged, but content will be moderated. Please, no personal attacks, obscenity or profanity, selling of commercial products, or endorsements of political candidates or positions. We reserve the right to remove any inappropriate comments. We also cannot address individual medical concerns or provide medical advice in this forum.