Professor of Bioengineering and Therapeutic Sciences,
University of California-San Francisco
Dr. Adam Abate is a physicist who brings a unique research program to UCSF. His research employs microfluidics for high-throughput biological applications. He has developed microfluidic methods to create emulsions that consist of droplets of very precise and consistent sizes and to manipulate the processing and contents of individual droplets in different ways. The droplets are used to create micro-compartments, which can be loaded with single cells and other active materials, such as drugs, nutrients, and assay reagents. By chaining together different microdevice components, the droplets can be used as tiny "test tubes" for performing chemical and biological reactions. This allows multiple, independent reactions to take place at the rate of thousands per second, while using minuscule amounts of total reagent. Adam is using this approach for directed evolution, genetic sequencing, and cell sorting.