Internship at JPL

Congratulations to Jessica on starting an internship at JPL/NASA this week!

Jessica’s new home for the next 10+ weeks.
Jessica Torres

Jessica will be working with Dr. Peter Willis to help optimize, and improve CE techniques for the detection of chemical signatures of life. The overarching goal of this work is develop, and hopefully deploy, microfluidic devices on probes to other planets or moons, in order to search for the chemical signatures of past or present life on those worlds.

We will certainly miss having Jessica in the lab for the next 10+ weeks, but it’s a great opportunity for her, and she will bring back some new techniques and knowledge to share with our lab.

IMSD Scholars in the lab

Congratulations to Cat who joins Madee in the IMDS scholars program. The program is designed to aid underrepresented groups successfully enter Ph.D. programs in the sciences. We’re very excited to have two students in the lab who are so deserving of this opportunity, and we look forward to seeing their progress in the lab, and into their graduate careers.


Congratulations Cat!

Catrin Law

We’re very happy to announce that SDSU’s Summer Undergraduate Research Program selected Cat’s summer research project as one of the few to be funded this year. The program provides a salary for Cat, as well as some funds for the research supplies that she will need to complete her project.

The goal of the work that Cat will be undertaking is to develop a ssDNA aptamer that will be capable of binding selectively to nicotine. It’s a big challenge, but she’s up to the task, and this should greatly help our THS analysis project.

End of the semester, start of the summer

The end of the spring semester is always an interesting time. On one hand, there is the palpable relief of having completed another academic year, and to have the renewed freedom to explore more in the lab. On the other hand, many of the lab members graduate in the spring, so it’s a time to bid them farewell.

Congratulations Ricko!

This semester we’re somewhat fortunate in that the only student to graduate is Ricko. Congratulations to you on all your hard work to get to this point!

Along with Ricko’s graduation a number of new students are joining the lab over the course of the summer (some right away, others after a short break). So check out the group members page to see who’s new, and who’s still working with us.

Harrison Lab at MSB 2019

This past week was the 35th annual meeting of the Microscale Separations and Bioanalysis conference. This is one of the best meetings for the Harrison lab, as it hits on all the topics that we are interested in, and brings together the top experts in the field from around the world.

The view wasn’t quite as dramatic at the OSU campus, but the science was great.

At the conference Chris gave a talk about our development of a dynamic EOF reversal process. Jessica presented a poster about her new capillary coating and its impact on the separation of small molecules and proteins. Both presentations were really well received, and great feedback was given on how both projects can continue to move forward.

All in all, it was a great few days of seeing friends and their research, and getting inspired for new projects to undertake now that we are back. Plus we got new coffee mugs!

The commemorative coffee mug from the conference, a nice change from bags and USB drives.

Microfluidics at SDSU’s Science Sampler

On Saturday (March 23rd) SDSU held its annual Science Sampler; a showcase of fun science activities for families to experience. This year our lab was part of the event!

We wanted to demonstrate some simple analytical devices that can do some rather accurate measurements. So we prepared some paper based microfluidic devices. These were made from chromatography paper, and each arm was loaded with increasing amounts of base, and an indicator dye at the end. The paper was sealed with clear masking tape, and one arm dipped into an acidic solution. Capillary action and chemistry does the rest. In a few minutes you have a rough titration of the acid!

Below is a slideshow of our device being used to titration a 0.5M solution of a weak acid. The titrant wells are filled with increasing concentration of KOH, and the indicator zones have phenolphthalein. Each zone required only 3 micro liters of solution!

For a somewhat less quantitative, but more visually appealing (and kid pleasing) titration the phenolphthalein can be replaced with universal indicator.

Acid base titration on a paper device with universal indicator in the detection zones.

New Research Project

The Harrison Lab has begun a new direction of research in collaboration with other faculty on campus. The group has joined a team of researchers investigating the impacts of thirdhand smoke on individuals.

Thirdhand smoke is something we’ve all experienced, but likely haven’t thought much about. Have you ever gone into a room/building and known right away that someone, at some time, had smoked in there? That’s thirdhand smoke (THS), the residue left behind from smoking – whereas secondhand smoke is the smoke in the air around a smoker.

The Harrison lab, as part of project funded by the Tobacco-Related Disease Research Program (TRDRP) is working to develop a personal, portable, disposable, device that can provide a semi-quantitative measure of THS residue on a surface. The idea is to develop a device that can be used by anyone to get a rough measure the THS expose. This tool, combined with more detailed analysis of THS compounds and their health risks, will provide individuals with the ability to easily assess the potential risk to themselves, and their family, when in a THS contaminated environment.

The students leading this undertaking are Jessica Torres, Cat Law, and Arrion Vivas.

Research Presentations

Once again a number of the students from the Harrison lab were presenting their work at the annual Student Research Symposium. Jessica and Kai presented a poster on their work with a new capillary coating compound, showing how it can reverse the EOF, and protect the capillary surface from protein adsorption.

Jessica, Kai, and their poster.

Madee presented a poster on her work to develop a means of identifying hemoglobin glycosylation with capillary electrophoresis.

New Masters!

Congratulations to Sangho Davie Yun and Amy Vo. Both students successfully defended their Master’s theses in December. The two did excellent work on capillary surface coatings, and capillary electrophoresis of droplets, respectively.

Look forward to publications coming from these works in the coming months.