|Role||ARC ICPD, Postdoctoral Fellow|
|Project||Microfluidics research across multiple projects|
|Node||University of Melbourne|
|Supervisor/s||Professor Alastair Stewart|
- PhD in Mechanobiology (2017) — Mechanobiology Institute, Singapore (MBI) | National University of Singapore
- BSc (Hons) in Biomedical Science (2011) — Department of Biological Sciences | National University of Singapore
My PhD research (under Prof. Virgile Viasnoff, National University of Singapore) focused on epithelial cell-cell junction mechanics using microfluidics and micro-environmental control. I studied the mechanosensitivities of tight junction and adherens junction, and elucidated their interdependence upon localized junctional stress under the microscope (refer to poster). I designed and fabricated a novel confocal microscope compatible microfluidic chip for single cell-doublet manipulation, whereby we can directly impose local shearing stress at cell-cell interface of a cell doublet with minimum disturbance to the cell cortex. Microfluidic flow is controlled by custom LabVIEW code and downstream 3D image analysis is conducted via custom MATLAB codes.
In the meanwhile, I developed various specific auxiliary devices along the way, e.g. curved-profiled micro-well arrays for cell doublets/aggregates formation and imaging, a spring-loaded pressor with level adjustment to customize the curved vertical channel profile in microchip fabrication, a vacuum-based coverslip holder mounted on stereomicroscope for microchannel alignment, and a microscope-friendly indenter-based equiaxial cell stretcher for cellular stress application and live-cell imaging. Since a number of my lab mates are working on micro-environment manipulation, through discussion and collaboration, I also have a functional set of knowledge regarding microwell-based surface treatment and protein patterning.
For my future research, I would like to adopt a more translational and diagnostically applicable approach. My ultimate interest is in the development of microscopy-compatible lab-on-chip systems to simplify or standardize mechanobiological assays and to solve real-world biomedical problems. Being trained in cell/molecular biology and relatively experienced in microfabrication from mask design to device fabrication, I am keen to embark on inter-disciplinary projects, working to develop chip-based analytical platforms to study biological questions.