Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



Document Type



Methods for bacterial detection and identification has garnered renewed interest in recent years due to the infections they may cause and the antimicrobial resistances they can develop, the potential for bioterrorism threats and possible contamination of food/water supplies. Therefore, the rapid, specific and accurate detection of pathogens is crucial for the prevention of pathogen-related disease outbreaks and facilitating disease management as well as the containment of suspected contaminated food and/or water supplies. In this dissertation an integrated modular-based microfluidic system composed of a fluidic cartridge and a control instrument has been developed for bacterial pathogen detection. The integrated system can directly carry out the entire molecular processing pipeline in a single disposable fluidic cartridge and can detect sequence variations in selected genes to allow for the identification of the bacterial species and even its strain. The unique aspect of this fluidic cartridge is its modular format with a task-specific module interconnected to a fluidic motherboard to permit the selection of a material appropriate for the given processing step(s). In addition, to minimize the amount of finishing steps for assembling the fluidic cartridge, many of the functional components were produced during the polymer molding step used to create the fluidic network. The operation of the fluidic cartridge was provided by electronic, mechanical, optical and hydraulic controls located off-chip and assembled into a small footprint instrument. The fluidic cartridge was capable of performing cell lysis, solidphase extraction of genomic DNA from the whole cell lysate, continuous flow PCR amplification of specific gene fragments, continuous flow ligase detection reaction to discriminate sequence variations and universal DNA array readout, which consisted of DNA probes patterned onto a planar polymer waveguide for evanescent excitation. The performance of the fluidic system was demonstrated through its successful application to the genetic detection of bacterial pathogens, such as Escherichia coli O157:H7, Salmonella, methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus and multi-drug resistant Mycobacterium tuberculosis, which are major threats for global heath. The modular system, which could successfully identify several strains of bacteria in <40 min with minimal human intervention and also perform strain identification, represents a significant contribution to pathogen detection.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Soper, Steven A.



Included in

Chemistry Commons