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Microfluidic Technologies for Structural Biology


Hansen, Carl Lars Genghis (2004) Microfluidic Technologies for Structural Biology. Dissertation (Ph.D.), California Institute of Technology. doi:10.7907/N9T3-7114.


In the post-genomic era, X-ray crystallography has emerged as the workhorse of large-scale structural biology initiatives that seek to understand protein function and interaction at the atomic scale. Despite impressive technological advances in X-ray sources, phasing techniques, and computing power, the determination of protein structure has been severely hampered by the difficulties in obtaining high-quality protein crystals. Emergent technologies utilizing microfluidics now have the potential to solve these problems on several levels, both by allowing researchers to conduct efficient assays in nanoliter reaction volumes, and by exploiting the properties of mass-transport at the micron scale to improve the crystallization process. The technique of Multilayer Soft Lithography (MSL) has been used to developed a set of microfluidic tools suitable for all stages of protein crystallogenesis, including protein solubility phase-space mapping, crystallization screening, harvesting, and in silicone diffraction studies. These tools represent the state of the art in on-chip fluid handling functionality and have been demonstrated to dramatically improve protein crystallization.

Item Type:Thesis (Dissertation (Ph.D.))
Subject Keywords:combinatorial mixing; crystallization; diffraction; fast mixing; free interface diffusion; high throughput; in silicone diffraction; microcrystallization; microfluidics; nanocrystallogenesis; precise metering; robust metering; structural biology
Degree Grantor:California Institute of Technology
Division:Engineering and Applied Science
Major Option:Applied Physics
Thesis Availability:Public (worldwide access)
Research Advisor(s):
  • Quake, Stephen R.
Thesis Committee:
  • Quake, Stephen R. (chair)
  • Rees, Douglas C.
  • Elowitz, Michael B.
  • Painter, Oskar J.
  • Bjorkman, Pamela J.
  • Phillips, Robert B.
Defense Date:28 May 2004
Record Number:CaltechETD:etd-06012004-144201
Persistent URL:
Default Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:2350
Deposited By: Imported from ETD-db
Deposited On:01 Jun 2004
Last Modified:03 Feb 2021 22:15

Thesis Files

PDF (HansenPC.pdf) - Final Version
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