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Wed, Dec 21, 2011

Electrical and Computer Engineering Ph.D student Kasun Punchihewa (Ph.D. advisor Prof. Metlushko) was selected to receive the UIC Graduate College Medical Research AwardKasun Punchihewa’s project has been performed in the UIC’s Nanoscale Core Facility in collaboration with Prof. Michael Cho (BioE UIC) and Prof. Sarah Glover (UIC COM and now U of Florida). It is supported by the NIH grant “Role of Surface Roughness in Regulating Tumor Cell Behavior”. This interdisciplinary research is concentrated on understanding, control, and manipulation of biological processes at the molecular level. The cellular environment is believed to profoundly affect cell functions and behaviors in ways that are currently unknown. While stem cells placed an appropriate environment will facilitate cell growth and differentiation, the same cells in an unfavorable environment could undergo apoptosis and/or differentiate into the uncontrolled or unintended lineages.

It now appears plausible to dictate the stem cell fate by presenting an engineered nano-environment to the stem cell. In his research, Kasun Punchihewa proposed to integrate 3-D nanofabrication, polymer chemistries, and stem cells to both elucidate and manipulate the nanoscale stem cell behavior.


Figure 1. Scanning electron micrograph of the extracellular matrix underlying normal colonic epithelia.


Fig. 2. Highly accurate 3-D biological structures can be reproduced using state of the art 3D Electron Beam Lithography (Fig. 3) available in the NCF at UIC. Atomic Force Microscopy image of fabricated 3D structures (one-to-one ECM reproduction).


Fig.3. The direct writing on a surface is the most fundamental step in any nano and micro-structure fabrication in science and engineering. The electron-beam lithography (EBL) system is flexible and an ideal solution for the patterning of any surfaces in engineering, bio, medical, micro-optics, micro fluidics, sensors and all other applications that require resolution better than 50 nm. Our Raith E-Line system in the NCF has been modified to create complex 3D structures in resist. This capability enables fabrication and replication of 3D surfaces.

Topic revision: r1 - 2012-01-19 - 15:25:04 - Main.mbora3
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