Dynamic Microfluidic Assays

Tech ID: 22826 / UC Case 2013-035-0

Patent Status

Country Type Number Dated Case
United States Of America Issued Patent 10,393,701 08/27/2019 2013-035

Brief Description

Many biomolecules can exist in more than one stable state or configuration and can switch reversibly between them.  Molecular switching may occur spontaneously or in response to an external stimulus, such as change in pH, light, or temperature. Molecular switches have numerous applications in life and engineering sciences, including selective drug administration or molecular electronics, and understanding their switching properties is essential for the development of these applications.


Scientists at UC Berkeley have designed a microfluidic device that dynamically measures molecular switching in real-time, using microfluidic molecular separation techniques.  For example, the device has been used to better understand the photophysical properties of the widely used biological probe, green fluorescent protein (GFP). In addition to assaying biomolecule switching, this device can be used to separate and identify proteins in a biological sample, and thus be used as a microfluidic western blot that requires only small sample volumes. 


Suggested uses

  • Design, characterization and engineering of biological probes
  • Microfluidic western blot
  • Analytical and diagnostic assays
  • Dynamic assessment of reaction kinetics, interactions, dissociations of given interactions
  • Engineering of biomaterials, for example biomimetic smart materials



  • High separation timescale and resolution: allows for real-time modulation and readout of biomolecule reaction processes
  • Dynamic analysis of chemical and structural nature of switching processes
  • Short assay times compared to state-of-the-art alternatives
  • Small sample required for detectable results
  • Compatible with range of molecule separation methods and read-out detectors



Bistable isoelectric point photoswitching in green fluorescent proteins observed by dynamic immunoprobed isoelectric focusing

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  • Herr, Amy E.
  • Hughes, Alex J.
  • Tentori, Augusto M.

Other Information


Microfluidics, Western blot, molecular switching, diagnostic

Categorized As