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Design and optimization of a digital microfluidic biochip for protein crystallization

By Tao Xu, Krishnendu Chakrabarty and Vamsee K. Pamula


Proteins crystallization is a commonly used technique for protein analysis and subsequent drug design. It predicts the three-dimensional arrangement of the constituent amino acids, which in turn indicates the specific biological function of a protein. Protein crystallization experiments are typically carried out manually on multi-well plates in the laboratory. These experiments are slow, expensive, and error-prone. We present the design of a multi-well plate microfluidic biochip for protein crystallization; this biochip can transfer protein samples, prepare candidate solutions, and carry out crystallization automatically. To reduce the manufacturing cost of such devices, we present an efficient algorithm to generate a pin-assignment plan for the proposed design. The resulting biochip enables control of a large number of on-chip electrodes using only a small number of pins. Based on the pin-constrained chip design, we present an efficient shuttle-passenger-like droplet manipulation method to achieve high-throughput and defect-tolerant well loading. 1

Year: 2010
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