Linda Pilarski, University of Alberta
Investigating chromosomal breaks and translocations in individual cells from patients with multiple myeloma.
An ideal technique for tracking cancer treatment costs $500 to $1000 and is too time-consuming for routine use.
In conventional interphase fluorescence in-situ hybridization (FISH), fluorescent probes flanking chromosomal break points are hybridized to whole cells on microscope slides; incorrect juxtaposition of the tags indicates an abnormality. Pilarski collaborated with engineer Chris Blackhouse to miniaturize the FISH assay and automate the analysis, dramatically reducing the amount of reagent and the time required.
What they designed was FISH on a chip: a single microfluidic device the size of a microscope slide in which...