Seminar on "MEMS-Based Fluorescent Cell Sorting and Applications in the Clinic"


Monday, November 2, 2015 - 3:30pm


ESB 1001


Dr. John Foster

The development of a Fluorescent Cell Sorting system using the world’s fastest valve will be described. A MEMS chip performs the valving operation and it is contained within a closed fluidic path in a sterile disposable cartridge, eliminating cross-contamination of serial samples and Operator exposure to potentially biohazardous samples. The MEMS chip features magnetic actuation, single-crystal silicon mechanics for high reliability, and multi-wafer bonding for 3D plumbing. The valve performance is exceptional, reaching 50k G peak acceleration driving the valve to move from the non-sort to sort position in less than 10us. Several biological sorting examples will be described including stem cell sorting and T cell sorting, and viability data showing no cell damage within our ability to measure. The application of this technology to cell therapy in the clinic will be described, specifically antigen-specific T cell therapy for metastatic melanoma. 

Bio: Most recently Dr. John Foster has been the President and founder of Owl Biomedical Inc., a startup that developed the world's first clinical sorter with applications in cell therapy and research. Owl Biomedical Inc. was founded in 2011 and acquired by Miltenyi Biotec in 2013. Their first product, The Nanosorter, uses a closed fluid path cartridge that allows for "plug and play" cell sorting and avoids issues associated with traditional cell sorters. At the heart of the cartridge is a patented silicon microchip capable of extraordinarily high-frequency fluidic valving. Dr. John Foster earned his PhD at Stanford University where he was also a faculty member of the Applied Physics Department. John then transitioned into industry roles - at IBM as R&D/Project Manager he was co-inventor of the proximity recording disk drive. John was COO at Applied Magnetics Corp., then founder/CEO of Innovative Micro Technology (IMT), a turn-key MEMS foundry and contract manufacturing service provider.

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