Microfluidics and Alzheimer's Disease: A Device to Study the Amyloid Beta Protein

Celia Cheung : Bioengineering

Mentor: Luke Lee, Bioengineering

Alzheimer’s disease is the 6th leading cause of death in the United States, affecting over 5 million people aged 65 and older. The disease is defined pathologically by the aggregation of the amyloid beta (AB) peptide, forming abnormal clumps of protein in the brain. Understanding the environmental conditions that cause or inhibit the aggregation of AB is crucial for developing new methods of treatment and drug candidates for Alzheimer’s. The field of microfluidics allows for fast, inexpensive, and accurate methods of conducting experiments, by requiring only microliter-scale volumes of samples. Celia’s research project is to improve a pre-existing method of studying AB aggregation, by miniaturizing the experimental setup onto a microfluidic chip. The device may aid the scientific community in molecular studies and tests for molecules to inhibit AB aggregation, as well as possibly enable drug screening for Alzheimer’s disease.