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College of Engineering and Computing

Biomedical Engineering


Microfluidics has been widely explored for life science and cancer diagnostics. Isolation of tumor cells is important in cancer research. This project focuses on the development of a label free dielectrophoresis (DEP) method for separation and isolation of tumor cells and electrophoresis for separation of molecule in microfluidics. This technology can be useful for circulating tumor cell study, and research in cell molecular biology.  Our lab has also developed other components for micro/nanofluidics devices, such as ultrafast micromixer, micropump, etc for lab-on-a-chip applications. The microfluidics technology can also significantly improve production of monodispersed functional nanoparticles. Combining with our super resolution and multimodality imaging, the microfluidic devices can also be used for single cell analysis and single molecule detection.

lab on a chip

Experimental demonstration of the DEP separation and enrichment of colorectal cancer cell HCT 116 from human embryonic kidney HEK 293 cells and E. coli. (A) Experimental setup of the microfluidic chip. (b) Without ac electric filed activation, most cells colorectal cells, kidney cells and E. coli flow through the electrode gap along the main channel. (c) With ac activation, almost all colorectal cells were repelled to the side channel due to negative DEP force, whereas the HEK 293 cells and E. coli retain the same motion through the gap as if there was no ac activation. The dark spheres are the HCT 116 cells and the white spheres are the HEK 293 cells. E. coli cells are too small to be seen in these images.



  • Mohammed Alshareef, Juarez-Perez, E., Metrakos, N., Xiaoming Yang, Fadi Azer, Fang Yang, G. Wang Separation of tumor cells with dielectrophoresis-based microfluidic chip. Biomicrofluidics 7, 011803 (2013); doi: 10.1063/1.4774312. Special Topic: Microfluidics In Cancer Research.

  • Fang Yang, Xiaoming Yang, H Jiang, G. Wang Cascade and staggered continuous flow dielectrophoretic cell sorters. Electrophoresis. 32, 2377-2384, 2011.

  • F. Yang, X. Yang, H. Jiang, P. Bulkhaults, P. Wood, W. Hrushesky, G.R. Wang, Dielectrophoresis Separation of Colorectal Cancer Cells. Biomicrofluidics, 4, 013204 (2010).