Creation of universal chips for high-throughput screening
Using photochemistry, we combine opposing functional properties on one surface. For the first time in the world, we use microstructured omniphobic/omniphilic compounds to create droplet microarray chips. These chips represent a set of micro-regions, each of which can hold almost any liquid with a volume of several nanoliters. This allows the creation of miniature ultra-high-performance platforms for screening living cells, creating cell patterns, creating microparticles of hydrogels or metal-organic frameworks (MOFs), or patterns for the formation of bacterial biofilms.
One of the directions of this research is the development of new functional materials and surfaces for miniaturization and parallelization of biological and microbiological experiments. Parallelization and miniaturization of cell experiments are fundamentally important for biological research, the pharmaceutical industry, biotechnology, and medicine and diagnostics. Miniaturization increases productivity and reduces the cost of cell experiments. Most cell screenings worldwide are now performed using 96- or 384-well microplates, which use large numbers of cells, expensive reagents, and materials and require expensive robotic processing systems. We are working on techniques that are critical to accelerating drug discovery and creating affordable personalized medicine solutions.
Obtaining and processing large amounts of data
One of the difficulties when working with high-throughput screening methods is the stage of read-out. Depending on the type of experiment set up, it may be necessary to obtain information about color or contrast, separate details at each point. Therefore, working with many images and thousands of repetitions is impossible without the involvement of automated image processing tools. Algorithms are responsible for recognizing colors, their intensity, contrast, finding the boundaries of objects, determining their area.
Screening of biological activity
The main task of the platforms being created is to accelerate the search for new pharmaceutical substances, select promising molecules with different biological properties, point-of-care approaches to screening effective drugs directly at the patient's bed, etc.
At the moment, we are going to develop a direction to study the adhesion of cells to omniphobic coatings and the possibility of the formation of cell spheroids. These studies are the first step towards understanding how omniphobic coatings might be suitable for biological screening purposes. Cellular spheroids are the next level in vitro model compared to traditional monolayer cultures.
The second direction of the research will be the creation of a platform for testing hemostatic characteristics. The research is being carried out in collaboration with the nanopharmaceutical group. At the moment, we have much groundwork in the development of thrombolytic and hemostatic agents, including the use of nanomaterials. However, current screening systems do not imply fluency in assessing thrombolytic properties. As a rule, such experiments take dozens of minutes or even hours, leading to research delays. Platforms such as droplet microarrays have never been used to assess hemostatic characteristics, which suggests significant progress in this area.