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MEMS- Mechanical Engineering Research

MEMS

Microelectromechanical Systems (MEMS) research integrates mechanical and electrical components with feature sizes ranging from micrometers to millimeters

In the MEMS laboratory we are developing miniaturized devices using micro-fabrication processes. This includes microdevices for biological applications, micro-sensors and micro-actuators. Research in the area of BioMEMS is motivated by the potential to develop a Point-Of-Care (POC) device that is capable to detect certain molecules or cells in blood samples. Specific research areas of interest include Dielectrophoresis phenomena (DEP), surface acoustic waves (SAW), Magnetophoresis, separation of living cells, modelling of microdevices, and Microfabrication.

Investigation of Active Hybrid Composites for Thermal Energy Harvesting

Hierarchical materials are characterized by a distinct, organized structure that takes place at one or more length scales. Examples of naturally-occurring hierarchical materials include wood and mollusk shells, for which the existence of small length-scale hierarchy is known to significantly enhance their mechanical properties compared to their constituents. The objective of this project is to develop smart materials with optimized artificial microstructural hierarchy for the purpose of maximizing strength-to-weight ratio and energy dissipation per unit volume for applications in the aerospace, automotive and civil engineering fields. The base materials are chosen to be iron-based shape memory alloys (SMAs), which are emerging as less expensive alternatives to conventional SMAs such as Nickel-Titanium.

Personnel
PI: Dr. Wael Zaki
Collaborators: Dr. Rehan Umer (Co-PI), Mohammed Al-Shudeifat (investigator)

Time frame
Jan. 2016 – Dec. 2017

Funding
Khalifa University Internal Research Fund level 2

Hybrid Lab on a Chip for Liquid Biopsy

This work involves realizing a microfluidic device for liquid biopsy – cancer screening using blood. This device overcomes the current drawbacks affecting purity and efficiency associated with cancer cell separation. The device would be realized in PDMS (Polydimethylsiloxane) and glass substrates using standard microfabrication techniques and tested using blood spiked with cancer cells (MDA231 breast cancer cells). The device will enable detecting cancer at early stages, develop new drugs to treat pre-cancer condition in patients and will enable the real time evaluation of the effectiveness of the administered treatment for cancer patients. The technology enables development of personalized treatments for cancer and it could be used for other medical conditions that express at the cell level. This project covers multidisciplinary fields of knowledge and it is expected to create a substantial impact in the way the cancer treatment is administered to patients. The long term goal of the research is to develop a microfluidic point-of-care platform for detection, separation and counting of cancer cells in blood.

Personnel

PI: Dr. Anas Alazzam

Funding

Al Jalila Foundation

A novel microdevice for separation of rare cells from blood using traveling surface acoustic waves (TSAW) and dielectrophoresis (DEP)

Abstract

This research project comes as the result of investigations into applications over the past few years. The objective of this project is to develop and validate a new technology for the separation of rare cells from human body fluids. A novel method for continuous flow separation of circulating malignant cells from blood in a microfluidic device is to be developed.  DEP separation technology has been validated by the PI on cancer cells from cell lines mixed with blood cells. This project enables validation of the concept for cells retrieved from fresh blood. The technology will enable researchers to detect cancer during earlier stages, develop new drugs to treat pre-cancer conditions in patients, and will enable the real time evaluation of the effectiveness of the administered treatment for cancer patients. The technology enables development of personalized treatments for cancer and it could be used for other medical conditions that express at the cell level. The technology is based on microfluidics and miniaturization. This project covers multidisciplinary fields of knowledge and it is expected to create a substantial impact in the way that cancer treatment is administered to patients. The long term goal of the research is to develop a microfluidic point-of-carer platform for detection, separation and counting of cancer cells in blood.  

Personnel

PI: Dr. Anas Alazzam
Co-PIs: Dr. Bashar El-Khasawneh and Dr. Mohammad Abutayeh
Research Assistant: Dr. Bobby Mathew (Post-Doctoral Research Fellow)

Time frame

Sep. 2013 – Dec. 2015

Funding

Khalifa University Internal Research Fund level 2 (AED 2.9M)