Colloids, diagnostics, and 3D-printed hydrogels

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Montana State University - Bozeman, College of Engineering


Colloidal suspensions are dispersions of microscopic particles in liquid. Their properties have broad impacts in industry, medicine, and biology. In Chapter 2, we focus on measuring the interactions between colloidal particles suspended in water and a glass surface. We measure these interactions using a custom-built fluorescence centrifuge force microscope (F-CFM). This is the first CFM built with fluorescence capability, the first CFM used to measure colloidal interaction forces, and the first CFM capable of operating at speeds above 2000 RPM - and up to 5000 RPM - in a centrifuge. The F-CFM enables colloidal scale objects to be discriminated by fluorescence, which opens potential applications for biological samples that fluoresce under different phenotypic states. In Chapter 3, we focus on designing a point-of-care (POC) saliva collection, metering, and mixing system for detecting viral pathogens. The device was designed for the specific purpose of testing for the presence of SARS-CoV-2 in saliva using molecular amplification methods but could be applied to any pathogen whose constituents can be detected in saliva. The design to prioritizes ease of use, low cost, and scalability in order to facilitate massively widespread testing, which was absent during the first years since the emergence of SARS-CoV-2, In Chapter 4, we describe a method of formulating and printing hydrogel resins with high resolution channels using light-based 3D printing. In Chapter 5, we describe a leak-resistant, pressurized connector platform for connecting modular hydrogels that can be used to create complex assemblies of hydrogel components. In Chapter 6, we describe a microscope sample temperature control platform that fits into standard upright microscope stages in order to heat and cool samples in a controlled manner under the microscope in order to observe temperature dependent reactions like polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and loop-mediated isothermal amplification (LAMP). In Chapter 7, we describe a LAMP formulation that can be used to detect the presence of SARS-CoV-2 RNA in saliva despite the inhibitory components present in saliva and demonstrate its comparable accuracy to the gold standard of pathogenic testing: nasopharyngeal PCR testing.




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