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Each month, the OVPR highlights the past month’s sponsored research funding awarded to Tufts’ investigators, including both a list of funded awards and one or more featured project abstracts.

You can download the list of February’s awardees by clicking the button below. In February, Tufts researchers received 27 awards for extramural funding from federal, foundation, and corporate sponsors.

To submit a recent award to be highlighted, please use the "nominate a project" button below.

This month our featured abstract highlights the work of Dr. Xiaocheng Jiang, Assistant Professor of Biomedical Engineering. Please see the full abstract of his Air Force Office of Scientific Research-funded project, ‘Graphene microfluids for dynamic, electron microscopic bio-imaging’, below.

Graphene microfluids for dynamic, electron microscopic bio-imaging

PI: Xiaocheng Jiang
Funder: Air Force Office of Scientific Research
Title: Graphene microfluids for dynamic, electron microscopic bio-imaging

Abstract: The rapidly advancing microfluidic technology has opened up new opportunities for live cell imaging by creating and maintaining biochemical/biophysical microenvironments, controlling flow dynamics/exposure profiles, and enabling high-throughput cell manipulation/analysis. While existing microfluidic platforms constructed from conventional materials (polydimethylsiloxane, glass, etc.) are fully compatible with most optical microscopic methods, ultra-resolution imaging of dynamic biological processes beyond optical diffraction limit remains challenging. The overall objective of the proposed research is to develop electron-microscope compatible microfluidics using chemically synthesized graphene as the channel material, where the liquid/gas impermeable, atomically thin, mechanically strong, and electrically transparent graphene wall is expected to facilitate sub-nanometer electron microscopic imaging while completely sealing and preserving structure/function of wet biological samples. In particular, we will pursue directed graphene growth around copper wires or patterned copper substrates, followed by selective metal etching and fluidic inlet/outlet integration to define graphene microfluidic channels with rationally designed geometry and functionality. We will further optimize the device design/operation to achieve minimally invasive electron microscopic imaging and sophisticated microenvironment control, and carry out real-time studies to visualize dynamic sub-cellular structural evolution and reveal molecular mechanisms associated with fundamental biomedical questions such as bioelectrical signaling, cancer cell migration/invasion, and intracellular drug delivery. This carbon based microfluidic imaging platform has the potential to transform the current biophysical studies at both molecular and cellular levels, and provide new insights about many biologically significant processes that are difficult to achieve with traditional optical or cryo electron microscopic methods.