Creating innovative and intelligent biotechnologies to benefit mankind...

TThe goal of our research group is to conduct innovative and translational research in bioelectrics, providing new insights into medical diagnostic applications.

Our research group has a renowned faculty, consisting of eleven members and many associate members. Headed by Dr. Karan V.I.S. Kaler, this group includes engineers from diverse backgrounds, biologists and genetists. Members are from various ethnicities and bring a rich cultural value to the group. Our past-members hold key positions in academia, federal government labs and research institutes.

Our research collaborations span across the globe and research disciplines, enabling team members with opportunities to explore and engage in multi-disciplinary research, supported by the rich knowledge and experience of our collaborators. Members often get opportunities to visit and learn hands-on in collaborator’s facilities. One such collaborative effort between our group and Dr. Linda Pilarski of CCI and Dr. Christopher Backhouse of AML has lead us to establishment of the Alberta Cancer Diagnostics Consortium (ACDC) ( aimed at commercialization of handheld devices based on integrated microfluidic platforms that implement microsystems and nanoscience for automated, real time diagnostic tests for certain types of cancers

ICT Building, University of Calgary.

T he research support to our effort of combining engineering and life sciences for the benefit of the public comes through competitive research grants from the Canadian government, non-profit foundations, private corporations and individuals. These funds provide the seed monies necessary to advance in new directions in basic and application research. The group has the resources and enthusiastic researchers to explore new territories that benefit and lead to comprehensive Lab-on-chip devices that meet the needs of clinical and biotechnology applications.

In previous work, the benefit of bioelectrics was well leveraged in the pioneering experiments of levitating biological cells under dynamic control by Dr. Kaler in early 1982. Furthering this research finding, we have successfully demonstrated the manipulation of biological cells using a variety of different microelectrode configurations. We have successfully leveraged electrokinetic phenomena, such as dielectrophoresis (DEP), electro-rotation (E-ROT) and traveling wave Dielectrophoresis (TWD) to affect analysis and fractionation of cells into purer subpopulations utilizing microfluidic technologies. Our work presently and in the future concerns integrating these eelctrokinetic devices with suitable detection and control electronics to yield a new class of low cost, multifunction cell inspection/analysis and sorting devices. Such advances will provide the much needed sample preparation on-chip which will impact significantly in the development and subsequent deployment of these devices on 'Lab-on-Chip' detection and bioanalysis platforms.

We have a strong working relationship with Dr. Julie Fox at the provincial laboratories in Calgary. This collaboration and research effort focuses on the development of integrated microfluidic chips for the detection of respiratory pathogens.

Further, in an attempt to develop a realistic microfluidic device without bulky off-chip components, we collaborate with Dr. Thomas B. Jones (University of Rochester) in perfecting the technique of surface liquid actuation for transporting and manipulating biological samples, droplet mixing and on-chip sample preparation (surface microfluidics).

In the area of BioMEMS, we have established collaboratiions with Dr. Martin Mintchev (University of Calgary), focusing on the development of a MEMS based micro-sensors to facilitate pressure/force measurements in the upper gastrointestinal (GI) tract. The improved sensitivity and performance expected of this micro-sensor system will greatly assist in early and improved clinical diagnosis of GI motility disorders. In another research project, we are developing a miniaturized electronic mosquito (e-mosquito), that mimicks the mosquito’s blood extraction operation, for blood sampling applications. The goal of this collaborative effort is to design a MEMS-based microactuator with an integrated microneedle capable of low volume sampling and minimally invasive in-vivo real-time blood analysis.

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Since Nov 1, 2002
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