Dr. Michael van Dam’s research group is interested in novel microfluidic technologies and automated systems for solving problems in cancer research and molecular imaging. A major focus of the group is on development of technologies to make tracers for positron emission tomography (PET) more widely available to research scientists and clinicians by reducing the complexity and cost of their production.
The lab has recently designed, built, and characterized a prototype chemical synthesis platform that supports development, optimization and the transition to routine production of a diverse array of PET tracers, and it has developed a compact microscale liquid handling “chip” that electronically controls droplets of reagents to carry out the chemical synthesis of PET tracers suitable for in vivo imaging. Current efforts are aimed at using automation to transform the proof-of-concept “chip” into a user-friendly prototype system, developing an intuitive software interface for operating the system, devising ways to interface the device with miniature purification and quality control systems and developing miniature analytical/imaging techniques to improve the “chip” design and study fundamental microscale chemistry phenomena.
Using different microfluidic technologies the group is also developing a high-throughput robotic system for protein expression analysis with single cell resolution of patient samples to study and diagnose tumor heterogeneity. Research projects are very multidisciplinary in nature and the van Dam lab collaborates extensively with other groups within and outside of UCLA.
Selected Cancer-Related Publications:
Ding H, Sadeghi S, Shah GJ, Chen S, Keng PY, Kim CJ, van Dam RM. Accurate dispensing of volatile reagents on demand for chemical reactions in EWOD chips. Lab on a Chip. 2012. In Press.
Keng PY, Chen S, Ding H, Sadeghi S, Shah GJ, Dooraghi A, Phelps ME, Satyamurthy N, Chatziioannou AF, Kim CJ, van Dam RM. Micro-chemical synthesis of molecular probes on an electronic microfluidic device. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2012 Jan 17;109(3):690-5. Epub 2011 Dec 30.
Keng PY, Esterby M, van Dam RM. Emerging Technologies for Decentralized Production of PET Tracers. In Positron Emission Tomography – Current Clinical and Research Aspects. Ed. Hsieh C-H. pg 153-182. ISBN 978-953-307-824-3, InTech, 2012.
Liu K, Lepin EJ, Wang MW, Guo F, Lin WY, Chen YC, Sirk SJ, Olma S, Phelps ME, Zhao XZ, Tseng HR, Michael van Dam R, Wu AM, Shen CK. Microfluidic-based 18F-labeling of biomolecules for immuno-positron emission tomography. Mol Imaging. 2011 Jun;10(3):168-76, 1-7.
Elizarov AM, van Dam RM, Shin YS, Kolb HC, Padgett HC, Stout D, Shu J, Huang J, Daridon A, Heath JR. Design and optimization of coin-shaped microreactor chips for PET radiopharmaceutical synthesis. J Nucl Med. 2010 Feb;51(2):282-7.