Dr. Adrienne Minerick

Professor, Chemical Engineering

Adrienne Minerick Dr. Minerick’s research is focused on electrokinetics with an emphasis on medical microdevices. The goals of her research group, M.D.-ERL (Medical microdevice Engineering Research Laboratory), are to develop portable, point-of-care devices that can provide rapid, quantitative results for disease diagnosis and monitoring. The primary focus of the group is on human blood electrokinetics, more specifically dielectrophoresis (DEP), and replacing expensive and time consuming off-line lab analysis with rapid, point-of-care devices. The main area of research that involves dielectrophoresis is ABO-Rh blood typing. Classical dielectrophoretic theory predicts particle behavior based on the particle’s polarizability relative to the medium’s polarizability. Therefore, medium ion distributions surrounding particles/cells are of paramount importance to the cell’s resulting behavior in a DEP field. Ongoing research involves detection of red cell interactions with drugs and commercialization of the blood typing technology funded by the National Science Foundation.

Experiments completed in M.D.-ERL are supplemented with COMSOL simulations that can compare theory to experimental results. These useful simulations help predict optimal experimental parameters, saving time and money. For example, one newer research area in M.D.-ERL is droplet micro fluidics. When first designing micro devices, COMSOL simulations were used to determine channel widths and flow rates of the two immiscible phases necessary to create isolated micro environments within droplets.

Additional research examines vitamin-levels in tears as an indicator of nutrition in infants. The current medical test for determining vitamin levels is blood plasma. A correlation between the amount of vitamins in tears and plasma is being investigated with funding from the Gerber Foundation. Engineered medical microdevices, optimized via COMSOL simulations, may provide a rapid, non-invasive, and cost effective way to determine malnutrition.

Protein separations are also being researched in M.D.-ERL. This project will advance small volume protein separations by introducing a new approach, called surface isoelectric focusing (sIEF). sIEF is featuring 100 times smaller than previously reported IEF techniques. The easy and quick fabrication process and a reusable property offer potential of moving the device closer to a future commercialized protein separation chip. Computation simulations enable optimizations of operating and boundary conditions to achieve faster and reliable sIEF separations.

For more information, please visit Dr. Minerick’s Medical microDevice Engineering Research Laboratory (M.D.-ERL).

Recent publications

01 Methods and Systems for Identifying a Particle Using Dielectrophoresis
T. N. G. Adams, A. R. Minerick, J. Collins, K. M. Leonard
US Patent Application (filed October 3, 2014)
02 Theoretical and Experimental Examination of Particle-Particle Interaction Effects on Induced Dipole Moments and Dielectrophoretic Responses of Multiple Particle Chains
H. Moncada-Hernandez, E. Nagler, A. R. Minerick
Electrophoresis, vol. 35, p. 1803 (2014)
03 Frequency Sweep Rate Dependence on the Dielectrophoretic Response of Polystyrene Beads and Red Blood Cells
T. N. Adams, K. M. Leonard, A.R. Minerick
Biomicrofluidics, vol. 7, p. 064114 (2013)
04 Human Red Blood Cell Deformation and Crenation Under High Frequency Spatial AC Field
R. An, D. O. Wipf, A. R. Minerick
Biomicrofluidics, vol. 8, p. 021803 (2014)
05 Solution pH Change in Non-Uniform AC Electric Fields at Frequencies Above the Electrode Charging Frequency
R. An, K. Massa, D. O. Wipf, A. R. Minerick
Accpeted for publication in Biomicrofluidics, 2014.