Mathias Ohlin

PhD Thesis Defense

Time: Fri 2015-06-12 13.00 - 16.00

Location: FD5

Subject area: Fysik - biologisk och biomedicinsk fysik

Doctoral student: Mathias Ohlin, Tillämpad Fysik , BioX

Opponent: Dr Peter Glynne-Jones Faculty of Engineering, University of Southampton, Southampton, England

Supervisor: Universitetslektor Martin Viklund

Title: Ultrasonic Fluid and Cell Manipulation


During the last decade, ultrasonic manipulation has matured into an important tool with a wide range of applications, from fundamental cell biological research to clinical and industrial implementations. The contactless nature of ultrasound makes it possible to manipulate living cells in a gentle way, e.g., for positioning, sorting, and aggregation. However, when manipulating cells using ultrasound, especially using high acoustic amplitudes, a great deal of heat can be generated. This constitutes a challenge, since the viability of cells is dependent on a stable physiological temperature around 37°C.

In this Thesis we present applications of ultrasonic manipulation of fluids, particles, and cells in temperature-controlled micrometer-sized devices fabricated using well established etching techniques, directly compatible with high-resolution fluorescence microscopy. Furthermore, we present ultrasonic manipulation in larger up to centimeter-sized devices optimized for fluid mixing and cell lysis. In the present work, two new ultrasonic manipulation platforms have been developed implementing temperature control. These platforms are much improved with increased performance and usability compared to previous platforms. Also, two new ultrasonic platforms utilizing low-frequency ultrasound for solubilization and cell lysis of microliter-volumed and milliliter-volumed samples have been designed and implemented.

We have applied ultrasound to synchronize the interaction between large numbers of immune, natural killer cells, and cancer cells to study the cytotoxic response, on a single cell level. A heterogeneity was found among the natural killer cell population, i.e., some cells displayed high cytotoxic response while others were dormant. Furthermore, we have used temperature-controlled ultrasound to form up to 100, in parallel, solid cancer HepG2 tumors in a glass-silicon multi-well microplate. Next, we investigated the immune cells cytotoxic response against the solid tumors. We found a correlation between the number of immune cells compared to the size of the tumor and the cytotoxic outcome, i.e., if the tumor could be defeated.

Finally, the effect of high acoustic pressure amplitudes in the MPa-range on cell viability has been studied in a newly developed platform optimized for long-term stable temperature control, independent on the applied ultrasound power. Lastly, we present two applications of ultrasonic fluid mixing and lysis of cells. One platform is optimized for small microliter-sized volumes in plastic disposable chips and another is optimized for large milliliter-sized volumes in plastic test tubes. The latter platform has been implemented for clinical sputum sample solubilization and cell lysis for genomic DNA extraction for subsequent pathogen detection.