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BE Seminar: “Vein-to-Vein Microfluidic Engineering for Cell Therapies” (Abe Lee, UC Irvine)
March 20, 2023 at 10:00 AM - 11:00 AM
Adoptive cell therapy (ACT) is a type of immunotherapy that involves the processing of blood from a donor to isolate immune cells (e.g. T cells) for genetic manipulation followed by reinfusion of the cells into patients. Specifically for CAR T cell therapy, genetic coding material (e.g. DNA, mRNA) is inserted into the T cells to express chimeric antigen receptors to target biomarkers of cancer cells and trigger an activated immune response towards the tumor of interest. This process that starts from blood drawn from one person and ends with specialized engineered cells delivered to the same patient includes multiple tedious and costly steps, and can require a long time that the patient may not have. Microfluidics techniques are being developed that can address all steps of this cell manufacturing process, including cell harvesting, cell isolation, cell activation and expansion, and cell transfection. In this talk I will introduce two microfluidic platforms in my lab, one is the lateral cavity acoustic transducer (LCAT) and the other is droplet microfluidics. LCAT was used for processing blood samples, isolating T cells, transfecting T cells, and finally expanding T cells to scale up for treatment. Based on LCAT, we developed the acoustic electric shear orbiting poration (AESOP) device to uniformly deliver genetic cargo dosage into a large population of cells simultaneously. Based on droplet microfluidics we constructed a single cell artificial antigen presenting cells (aAPCs) for T cell activation. By trapping single cells in microfluidic compartments, we are able to study the cell morphology and cell-cell communications to further understand immune cell activation and immune cell synapses.
Abraham ‘Abe’ Lee, Ph.D.
Professor, Biomedical Engineering, University of California, Irvine; Director, NSF I/UCRC Center for Advanced Design & Manufacturing of Integrated Microfluidics (CADMIM)
Abraham (Abe) P. Lee is Professor of Biomedical Engineering (BME) and Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering (MAE) at the University of California, Irvine (UCI). He is Director of the NSF I/UCRC “Center for Advanced Design & Manufacturing of Integrated Microfluidics” (CADMIM). Dr. Lee served as Editor-in-Chief for the Lab on a Chip journal from 2017 to 2020. Prior to UCI, he was at the National Cancer Institute and was a program manager in the Microsystems Technology Office at DARPA (1999-2001), Senior Technology Advisor at National Cancer Institute (NCI) and a group leader with Lawrence Livermore National Lab (LLNL). Over the years, Dr. Lee has pioneered research in applying microfluidics to biomedical applications, and currently focuses on integrated microfluidic systems for precision medicine including liquid biopsy, microphysiological systems, cell engineering, and immunotherapy. His research has contributed to the founding of several start-up companies. He owns 55 issued US patents and is author of over 130 journals articles. Professor Lee was awarded the 2009 Pioneers of Miniaturization Prize and is an elected fellow of the National Academy of Inventors (NAI), the American Institute of Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE), the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC), the American Society of Mechanical Engineering (ASME), the International Academy of Medical and Biological Engineering, and the Biomedical Engineering Society (BMES).