Chao “Charlie” Huang

Position in Kirby Lab at Cornell (2008 – 2014)

Ph.D. Student, Biomedical Engineering

Projects: dielectrophoretic particle manipulation, circulating tumor cell capture

Thesis: Characterization of Microfluidic Shear-Dependent Immunocapture and Enrichment of Cancer Cells from Blood Cells with Dielectrophoresis

Current Position

Postdoctoral Research Staff Member, Center for Bioengineering
Micro and Nano Technology Section, Materials Engineering Division

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
7000 East Ave, L-223, Building 1677, Room 2057
Livermore, CA 94550

huang36 [at]
+1 (925) 424-4541

Overview of Ph.D. Research

My research on DEP cancer cell capture was featured on the cover of ELECTROPHORESIS in Nov. 2013.

My role in rare cell capture research is to develop a method for increasing the purity of captured CTCs. Although the GEDI device preferentially captures CTCs, contamination from nonspecific adhesion of leukocytes often occurs, leading to a reduced captured sample purity and hindering further biological analyses. To address this limitation, I have developed a technique that incorporates a phenomenon called dielectrophoresis (DEP) that actuates cells in different directions based on their response to an electric field gradient. I use DEP to attract CTCs to capture surfaces while repelling other blood components (e.g., leukocytes), therefore improving CTC capture purity and facilitating subsequent genetic and pharmacological evaluation of cancer.