Biomedical Engineering Department Seminar:
"Microfluidics and Nanophotonics for Gene Editing and Single Molecule Detection” with Derin Sevenler, Ph.D.
Thursday, January 18, 2024
at 2:00 pm
Biotechnology and medicine continue to be transformed by improvements to our ability to read, write, and modify genomic DNA. In this talk, I will discuss two new developments at the interface of biotechnology and nanofabricated systems aimed at improving DNA detection and therapeutic gene editing in the context of cancer medicine. First, I will describe a nanophotonic biosensing approach for detecting single biomolecules without enzymatic amplification, towards addressing the challenge of assaying a large number of cancer associated DNA mutations with high sensitivity. Then, the main part of my talk will focus on our ongoing work to improve the efficiency of high throughput gene delivery for chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T therapy production. We recently developed a microfluidic system that leverages the nonlinear stress behavior of viscoelastic fluids to apply sub-millisecond pulses of mechanical tension to the plasma membrane of cells without surface contact. This creates reversible pores in the membrane, allowing mRNA and CRISPR-Cas9 ribonucleoproteins to diffuse into the cytosol within seconds. This uniquely fast and effective delivery technology will have several exciting applications in cell and gene therapy manufacturing, particularly in T cell editing for CAR T production.
Derin Sevenler is an Instructor in the Center for Engineering in Medicine and Surgery (CEMS) at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School. He conducted postdoctoral training in the laboratory of Mehmet Toner at the CEMS from 2018 to 2022. He received a BS in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering from Cornell in 2011, and his PhD in Biomedical Engineering from Boston University in 2017. He received the NIH K99/R00 Pathway to Independence Award in 2022. His research is focused on developing microscale and nanoscale systems to improve human health.