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Design of a microfluidic chamber to measure the mechanical properties of embryos

Primary Investigators:
Audrey Bowden
 
Brief Description of Project:
Nearly 1 in 10 American couples suffer from infertility. Many couples look for hope in assisted reproductive technologies like in vitro fertilization, but the success rates are generally low (~50%). We aim to develop non-invasive technologies to measure properties of candidate embryos that may correlate with better success. In particular, we hope to use optical imaging to study the mechanical properties of the zona pelucida, a membrane that surrounds the developing embryo.

Desired Qualifications: 
Required: Proficiency in MATLAB, signals and systems
Desired: Experience with CAD modeling and/or design of microfluidic chips 

Nature of Supervision:
Student will be directly supervised by Primary Investigator and her graduate students.
 
A Brief Research Plan (period is for 10 weeks):
Week 0-2: Theoretical overview and hands on training with the target imaging systems (OCT and OCE) and microscopes. 
Week 2-4: Research and proposal on candidate chamber designs.
Weeks 5-6: CAD drafts of proposed chambers.
Week 7-8: Fabrication of proposed chambers. 
Week 8-9: Validation imaging experiments with mouse embryos or polymer beads.
Week 9-10: Compile data, summarize results, submit abstract for relevant conference. 

Number of Open Slots: 1
 
Contact Information:
Name: Audrey Bowden
Department: Biomedical Engineering
Email: a.bowden@vanderbilt.edu