The three-dimensional structure of folded proteins is of enormous interest to the scientific
community. The structure is best determined with x-ray diffraction through a protein
crystal, but it has proven extremely difficult to grow crystals large enough for this
process [1, 2]. Significant challenges faced by protein crystallographers include the
inability to sufficiently control the crystallization environment and the scarcity of protein
Microfluidic devices, which allow ultra-precise fluid management and require
significantly less reagent than traditional methods, constitute an ideal technology with
which to overcome these crystallization challenges [4-7]. A microfluidic system has
been designed to give a crystallographer precise management of the concentrations of
several reagents (such as protein and a suitable precipitant salt) over time.
To create components of the microfluidic system, two novel fabrication methods were
developed: photopolymer mold making and three-dimensional plate tectonics. These
methods are rapid, inexpensive, and do not require any special equipment. A novel
micropump and channel network suitable for the crystallization system were successfully
created using these techniques.
University of Minnesota M.S. thesis. December 2009. Major: Biomedical Engineering. Advisor: Victor Barocas. 1 computer file (PDF); ii, 47 pages. Ill., (some col.)
Hattan, Paul J.
Novel microfluidic technologies: toward a low-cost system for protein crystallization..
Retrieved from the University of Minnesota Digital Conservancy,
Content distributed via the University of Minnesota's Digital Conservancy may be subject to additional license and use restrictions applied by the depositor.