COLLOQUIUM: Probing Living Matter: Methods and Applications in Metabolism

Speaker:  Dr. Andreas Vasdekis, Pacific Northwest National Lab

Topic:  “Probing Living Matter: Methods and Applications in Metabolism”

Time:  11:00 am, Monday, March 17, 2014

Place:  P-148 (refreshments will be served at 10:45 in P-145A)



Integrated circuits (ICs) have revolutionized modern life, including the way we make calculations and communicate. Recently, a different category of ICs has emerged, namely microfluidics and optofluidics. Instead of electrons, microfluidics carry fluids in channels narrower than a human hair, while optofluidics employ fluids for optical applications, giving rise to devices such as pocket-sized microscopes.

In this talk, I will discuss the bridging of microfluidics and optofluidics with soft-materials, and how this has enabled the expansion of the biophysical toolbox in three ways. The first is use of polymer gels in microfabrication, enabling complete microfluidic assembly in less than 40 sec [1]; the second is the direct flow of liquid crystals, giving rise to a miniature spectrometer [2]; the third is biomimetic vesicles that explode under laser illumination, thus modulating the function of living cells [3,4]. The talk will conclude with the application of such microfluidic tools to microbial metabolism. This final study was performed at the single cell level, revealing the stochastic nature of lipogenesis [5, 6].


[1] A. E. Vasdekis, M. J. Wilkins, J. W. Grate, R. T. Kelly, A. E. Konopka, S. S. Xantheas, T. -M. Chang, under revision (2014).

[2] J. G. Cuennet*[1], A. E. Vasdekis*, L. De Sio, D. Psaltis, Nature Photonics 5, 234 (2011).

[3] A. E. Vasdekis*, E. A. Scott*, C. P. O’Neil, D. Psaltis, J. A. Hubbell, ACS Nano 6, 7850 (2012).

[4] A. E. Vasdekis, E. A. Scott, S. R. Roke, J. A. Hubbell, D. Psaltis, Annual Review of Materials Research 43, 283 (2013).

[5] A. E. Vasdekis, RSC Advances 3, 6343 (2013).

[6] A. E. Vasdekis, G. N. Stephanopoulos in preparation (2014).


Short Biography

Andreas attended the graduate physics program at the University of St.Andrews (UK), exploring the photophysics and applications of polymers (2003-2008). Following a short spell at Caltech (USA), he became a Scientist at the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (Switzerland) for 3 years. Subsequently he served the military, prior to joining Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (USA) in late 2012.

Asterisk denotes equivalent first authorship.


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