Date of Submission

Spring 2013

Academic Program

Chemistry; Physics

Project Advisor 1

Christopher LaFratta

Project Advisor 2

Christian Bracher

Abstract/Artist's Statement

Microfluidic devices have emerged as a novel technique for studies in the micro to femto liter range, with applications in cellular biophysics, microbial behavior and molecular biology. These devices have aided our investigation of directional quorum sensing between Escherichia coli. The E. coli have been transformed into a set containing the LuxI gene, which codes for the production of Acyl Homoserine Lactone (AHL), and a set containing the LuxR gene, which upon detection of AHL increases Green Fluorescent Protein (GFP) production. These sets of bacteria have been encapsulated in a photopolymerized hydrogel within a microfluidic device where the creation of directional flow is possible. It is yet unclear whether communication between hydrogel-entrapped E. coli is possible within a microfluidic device. Current efforts are directed towards the optimization of the photolithographic techniques and cell viability within the hydrogel and microfluidic device, as well as understanding diffusion and transport through the hydrogel, experimentally and through mathematical models.

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