UCLA researchers in the Department of Bioengineering have developed a novel drop-carrier particle for single cell or single molecule assays.
Single-molecule or single-cell digital assays (e.g. digital PCR, digital LAMP, digital ELISA, dropSeq) require fractionating or compartmentalizing a large volume to such a level that each smaller fractionated volume contains either one or zero entity of interest (i.e. DNA, protein, etc.). It is critical that each compartment is uniform in volume to allow reactions to proceed with comparable properties in each partition. The main approaches to create these uniform compartments rely on creating monodisperse emulsions of drops using microfluidics. However, there are disadvantages to microfluidic approaches such as high cost for instruments, pumps, and chips to produce these compartmentalized droplets.
UCLA researchers led by Prof. Dino Di Carlo have developed a new low-cost multi-material particle that acts as a shuttle or carrier for a desired drop for digital assays. Each particle has a hydrophilic core for substrate or analyte binding, surrounded by a hydrophobic exterior. These types of dual-material particles can be designed with 3D shapes such that they can encapsulate, support, and stabilize water drops in the interior of the particles while being suspended in an oil phase to prevent coalescence of drops needed for digital assays.
digital PCR, digital LAMP, digital ELISA, drop¬Seq, single molecule, single cell, single molecule assay, single cell assay, dPCR, drop-carrier