Acoustic Isolation of Extracellular Vesicles

Open Access
Zhang, Rui
Graduate Program:
Engineering Science and Mechanics
Master of Science
Document Type:
Master Thesis
Date of Defense:
March 28, 2016
Committee Members:
  • Jun Huang, Thesis Advisor
  • Bernhard R Tittmann, Thesis Advisor
  • Corina Stefania Drapaca, Thesis Advisor
  • Extracellular Vesicles
  • exosome
  • surface acoustic wave
Extracellular vesicles (EVs) are small membrane-bound phospholipid vesicles secreted by most cells, such as blood cells, tumor cells, and fetal cells. EVs have been recognized as vital biological mediators in intercellular communications and play important functions in tissue repair, neural communication, immune response, etc. Thus, EVs were noticed as valuable biomarkers for diagnostics and therapeutics. However, the small size of EVs and their complex biological environment raise a significant technical challenge in sample preparation. Conventional isolation processes often require large sample volumes, expensive reagents and may cause damages to EVs, limiting the rapid and convenient analysis of EVs. Recently, the acoustic tweezers technique, which is capable of manipulating cells and microparticles in high-precision, highly biocompatible, and label-free, has been developed to separate different bioparticles based on small differences in their sizes, densities, and compressibilities. In this thesis, we developed a titled-angle standing surface acoustic wave (taSSAW) based isolation system that size-specifically isolates EVs in a label-free and contact-free manner. The taSSAW separation system can reach >90% separation efficiency, large handling volume, and high throughput, making the acoustic EVs separation system as a reliable tool for EV related study and clinical diagnosis.