Advanced BioTech Solutions for Healthcare
Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Bouve College of Health Sciences

Cell-Cell Interactions

Tissue Engineering

Vaccine Delivery Methods

Diagnostic Tools

Assay Development

Single Cell Studies

Cell-Cell Interactions

Tissue Engineering

Vaccine Delivery Methods

Diagnostic Tools

Assay Development

Single Cell Studies

Cell-Cell Interactions

Tissue Engineering

Vaccine Delivery Methods

Diagnostic Tools

Assay Development

Single Cell Studies

Cell-Cell Interactions

Tissue Engineering

Vaccine Delivery Methods

biotechnology research

The use of nano-liter reaction volumes and parallel sample processing offered by microfluidic devices make them ideally suited to total chemical and bioassay analysis, ultra-high throughput screening applications, and other cases where samples and reagents are available in limited quantities.

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biomedical research

Cell-based therapy for modulating the immune response has gained momentum in recent years.

 

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science & patient

Both the Biotechnology and the Biomedical research conducted in our laboratory are aimed to advance and support the field of medicine.

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Latest Research

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Single cell functional multi-omic analysis

Given the phenotypic and functional diversity of immune and cancer cell subsets, and the disparate timescale of immune reactions (early vs. delayed and transient vs. stable responses) it is essential to assess immune cell signaling and its target cell responses at single-cell level and more importantly in dynamic fashion to reveal the extent of heterogeneity. Our lab has developed h a microchip based method to evaluate cells and cellular interactions that can provide both high throughput and high content information bridging the gap between traditional assay plate in vitro methods and animal/human models.

Tumor on-a-chip

ScanDrop for rapid bacteria diagnostics and susceptibility testing

Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are among the most frequently encountered bacterial infections in the United States with an annual incidence over 8 million. In hospitalized patients, empiric therapy is given for 48-72 hours until traditional culture results and susceptibility data are available. However, the rapid emergence of antibiotic resistance presents an alarming challenge for management. It is now increasingly likely that many patients will be treated with inactive therapy, leading to adverse outcomes. Therefore, the development of new technologies to shrink the empiric therapy window through rapid identification and antibiotic susceptibility testing (AST) are critical. We have developed a novel technology called ScanDrop which incorporates a bead-based assay and microfluidics device to address shortcomings of current technology. As conceived, ScanDrop provides ultrafast, highly sensitive, direct-from-patient sample diagnostics for the most prevalent and antibiotic-resistant UTI pathogens (Escherichia coli, Klebsiella pneumoniae, Enterobacter spp., Pseudomonas aeruginosa, and Proteus spp.) without the need for culture pre-amplification. Our highly parallelized droplet microfluidic platform can screen four antibiotics/pathogens simultaneously and assess antibiotic sensitivity in 15-30 min. The advantages of our droplet-based AST, including rapid drug sensitivity response, morphological analysis and heterogeneity in antibiotic-resistance profiles, make it an excellent alternative to standard phenotypic AST with potential applications in clinical diagnostics and point of care testing.

other projects

Cloud-Enabled Microscopy and Droplet Microfluidic Platform for Specific Detection of Escherichia coli in Water
Bioartificial lymphoid organ for immune-regulation studies
Pico-liter droplet microfluidic immunosorbent platform for point-of-care diagnostics of tetanus
Ultrasensitive Detection of Low-Abundance Surface- Marker Protein in a Microfluidic Nanoliter Platform

We have made significant headway in the development of droplet based microfluidic lab on chip Immuno-Rolling Circle Amplification (RCA) labeling assay with single-molecule sensitivity and ultrahigh detection specificity of antigen-antibody reactions to identify specific cell surface markers . To take full advantage of the RCA labeling protocol for identifying low abundance proteins, we applied the RCA reaction inside monodisperse aqueous emulsion nano-liter droplets containing live single cells. By merging the single molecule detection power of the RCA strategy with microfluidic technology, we were able to demonstrate that identification of specific tumor marker, EpCAM, can be achieved on tumor-cell surface in miniaturized nanoliter reaction droplets.

Approaching near real-time biosensing: microfluidic microsphere based biosensor for real-time analyte detection.
Development of continuous interstitial insulin monitoring approach in T1D for optimizing the performance of bionic pancreas systems
Phenotypic drug profiling in droplet microfluidics for better targeting of drug-resistant tumors.

Screening known chemotherapeutic drugs and novel chemical reagents against cancer cells is necessary for the pharmaceutical industry and identification of drug targets. At present, this time consuming, laborious process is performed in large batches of micro-titre plates. We are developing droplet-based single cell drug profiling platforms that allow us to monitor hundreds of individual reactions, quantify cell responses and correlate drug cytotoxicity in breast cancer cells. Our aim is to develop large-scale multiparametric cytological profiles of cells to characterize dose-dependent therapeutic response in the treatment of multi-drug resistant blood and breast cancers.

Live single cell functional phenotyping and cell-cell communication in droplet nano-liter reactors

recent publications

Publications

people

Research Team

Dr. Alex Lim, Postdoctoral Fellow

Dr. Stefano Ugolini, Postdoctoral Fellow

Ilana Berger Fridman, PhD student

Sullivan Matt, PhD student

Jose Estevam, Grad student

Master Students

Yuntong Wang, Zhi Lin Shen, Millicent Gabriel, Awdhoot Godbole, Radhika Kulkarni, Ria Rajesh Bedi, Xinyi Shao, Suchitra Ramesh, Supriya Nagarajan, Viren Bhatia

Alumni

Michael Gray, Amey Gaikwad, Dr.Saheli Sarkar, Wenjing Kang, Seamus McKenney, Kristy Fang, Sai Mynampati, Abhishek Chiyyeadu,Sayalee Potdar,Sneha Pawar,Kristy Fang,Rucha Adhav,Chanchal Rathi,Himali Shroff,Chaitra Belgur, Dipen Parande, Vinny Motwani, Abhinav Gupta, Sneha Varghese, Dishant Patel, Harnil Shah, Noa Cohen, Micah AmdurClark, Pooja Sabhachandani, Dr. Yantao Fan

latest news

Dr. Konry was awarded with CTSI Tufts and RADX/NIH Phase 0 grants for her PCR free RAPID testing technology for COVID-19 diagnostics

Collaboration in immunotherapy between Konry Lab NEU and Dr.R.Romee Dana Farber

Drs.Konry and Romee were awarder with a grant from DFCI/NEU joined program in cancer drug development (2019-2021). The grant is focused on applying novel microfluidic technology to develop memory NK cell based therapy.

Women in Microfluidics & BioMEMS

Dr.Konry was appointed to Women in Microfluidics & BioMEMS list.

Casis tissue NASA

Konry lab was awarded a collaborative NASA tissue grant to study the effect of the extreme environment of space on immune cell interactions.

Dr.Konry was awarded with 2017 Tufts Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI) Pilot Award

The project will focus on determining antibody treatment sensitivity in B cell lymphoma by novel microfluidics-based NK cell immunogenicity platform developed by Dr.Konry’s group (Collaboration with Dr. Andrew Evens , Tufts Medical Center).

Pooja Sabhachandani will present at SLAS 2017 conference our work on novel droplet based platform for biomimetic tumor microenvironment studies and conduct the SLAS 2017 – Podium Presentation Webinar

 

Dr.Konry was nominated for SLAS Innovation Award 2017.

Dr.Konry was selected for funding by CIMIT’s NIH POC Award

The project is focused on developing a device for rapid urinary tract infection diagnosis and antibiotic susceptibility testing.

Our new findings in dynamic analysis of immune and cancer cell interactions: a single cell lab on a chip perspective

We investigated the dynamics of live cell anti-tumor immune responses at the single cell level in a microfluidic platform. The integrated droplet array allowed improved control over heterotypic cell pairing and interactions, which allowed us to observe significant cell motility, morphological changes, and complex formation over an extended duration. We evaluated immune cell priming by Ag-loaded DCs and the subsequent functional outcome in the con- text of multiple myeloma cells. Our results demonstrate substantial heterogeneity in priming interactions between DC and T cells, both in basal and activated cells. Effector T cells depicted time-varying cytotoxicity following transient, short or long stable contacts. Serial interactions by T cells were observed both in upstream (DC-based) and downstream (target-based) interactions. Our future aims include determining the molecular mechanisms underlying the phenotypic heterogeneity in T cell responses in droplets, and integrated live cell analysis of immune cell activation and effector functions.

Our novel droplet‐merging platform has been applied for comparative functional analysis of M1 and M2 macrophages for Forsyth institute

In our recent paper published in Biotechnology and Bioengineering we presented a simple and effective method for the co-encapsulation of polarized M1 and M2 macrophages with Escherichia coli (E. coli) by passive merging in an integrated droplet generation, merging, and docking platform. This approach facilitated live cell profiling of effector immune functions in situ and quantitative functional analysis of macrophage heterogeneity.

Our recent publication in Lab on a chip:

Phenotypic drug profiling in droplet microfluidics for better targeting of drug-resistant tumors

Acquired drug resistance is a key factor in the failure of chemotherapy. Due to intratumoral heterogeneity, cancer cells depict variations in intracellular drug uptake and efflux at the single cell level, which may not be detectable in bulk assays. In this study we present a droplet microfluidics-based approach to assess the dynamics of drug uptake, efflux and cytotoxicity in drug-sensitive and drug-resistant breast cancer cells. An integrated droplet generation and docking microarray was utilized to encapsulate single cells as well as homotypic cell aggregates. Drug-sensitive cells showed greater death in the presence or absence of Doxorubicin (Dox) compared to the drug-resistant cells. We observed heterogeneous Dox uptake in individual drug-sensitive cells while the drug-resistant cells showed uniformly low uptake and retention. Dox-resistant cells were classified into distinct subsets based on their efflux properties. Cells that showed longer retention of extracellular reagents also demonstrated maximal death. We further observed homotypic fusion of both cell types in droplets, which resulted in increased cell survival in the presence of high doses of Dox. Our results establish the applicability of this microfluidic platform for quantitative drug screening in single cells and multicellular interactions.

Dr. Konry was awarded with Schumacher Faculty Award 2015, presented to one faculty member early in their Northeastern career to recognize significant academic achievement for work done at Northeastern University

Dr. Konry was awarded with competitive grant from DFCI/NU Joint Program in Cancer Drug Development in collaboration with Prof. Suzanne Gaudet (DF/HMS).

Congratulations to Pooja Sabhachandani on being awarded with Shevell/Cohen Cancer Research Award (first place winner)

Our recent publication in Biosensors and Bioelectronics:

Approaching near real-time biosensing: Microfluidic microspherebased biosensor for real-time analyte detection

In this study we describe a simple lab-on-a-chip (LOC) biosensor approach utilizing well mixed micro- fluidic device and a microsphere-based assay capable of performing near real-time diagnostics of clinically relevant analytes such cytokines and antibodies. We were able to overcome the adsorption kinetics reaction rate-limiting mechanism, which is diffusion-controlled in standard immunoassays, by introducing the microsphere-based assay into well-mixed yet simple microfluidic device with turbulent flow profiles in the reaction regions. The integrated microsphere-based LOC device performs dynamic detection of the analyte in minimal amount of biological specimen by continuously sampling micro-liter volumes of sample per minute to detect dynamic changes in target analyte concentration. Furthermore we developed a mathematical model for the well-mixed reaction to describe the near real time detection mechanism observed in the developed LOC method. To demonstrate the specificity and sensitivity of the developed real time monitoring LOC approach, we applied the device for clinically relevant analytes: Tumor Necrosis Factor (TNF)alpha cytokine and its clinically used inhibitor, anti-TNF-α antibody. Based on the reported results herein, the developed LOC device provides continuous sensitive and specific near real-time monitoring method for analytes such as cytokines and antibodies, reduces reagent volumes by nearly three orders of magnitude as well as eliminates the washing steps required by standard immunoassays.

Our recent publication in PlosOne:

Cloud-Enabled Microscopy and Droplet Microfluidic Platform for Specific Detection of Escherichia coli in Water

Published: January 27, 2014 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0086341

We report an all-in-one platform – ScanDrop – for the rapid and specific capture, detection, and identification of bacteria in drinking water. The ScanDrop platform integrates droplet microfluidics, a portable imaging system, and cloud-based control software and data storage. The cloud-based control software and data storage enables robotic image acquisition, remote image processing, and rapid data sharing. These features form a “cloud” network for water quality monitoring. We have demonstrated the capability of ScanDrop to perform water quality monitoring via the detection of an indicator coliform bacterium, Escherichia coli, in drinking water contaminated with feces. Magnetic beads conjugated with antibodies to E. coli antigen were used to selectively capture and isolate specific bacteria from water samples. The bead-captured bacteria were co-encapsulated in pico-liter droplets with fluorescently-labeled anti-E. coli antibodies, and imaged with an automated custom designed fluorescence microscope. The entire water quality diagnostic process required 8 hours from sample collection to online-accessible results compared with 2-4 days for other currently available standard detection methods.

 

contact us

Tania (Tali) Konry, Ph.D. Associate Professor Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences Northeastern University 140 The Fenway, R 441, Lab 446 Boston, MA 02115 Tel: 617.373.3224