Events & Seminars > Event Details


4:00 pm
Room 304, Chemistry Building

Integrated Fluidic System for Analysis of Circulating Tumor Cells: Searching for Drug-induced DNA Damage using Nanosensors


Professor Steven A. Soper
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Hosted by: Professor James Landers

Improved therapies that yield more cures and better overall survival for cancer patients are needed. For example, women with breast cancer have a 5-year survival rate of 22% (Stage IV) and 72% (Stage III). Doxorubicin, cisplatin, paclitaxel, and tamoxifen are examples of drugs used for treating breast cancer with selection of therapy typically based on the classification and staging of the patient’s cancer. While treatment regimens assigned to some patients may be optimal using the current classification model, others within certain breast cancer sub-types fail therapy. New assays must be developed to determine how a patient’s physiology and genetic makeup affects drug efficacy. In this presentation, a novel SMARTChip™ design will be discussed for the isolation and processing of circulating tumor cells (CTCs). The SMARTChip™ quantifies response to therapy using three pieces of information secured from the CTCs; (1) CTC number; (2) CTC viability; and (3) the frequency of DNA damage (abasic (AP) sites) in genomic DNA (gDNA) harvested from the CTCs. The SMARTChip consists of task-specific modules integrated to a fluidic motherboard. Micro-scale modules are used for CTC selection, CTC enumeration and viability determinations, lysing CTCs, and purifying gDNA. The module to read AP sites is a nanosensor made via nano-imprinting in plastics and contains a nanochannel with dimensions less than the persistence length of double-stranded DNA (~50 nm). Labeling AP sites with fluorescent dyes and stretching the gDNA in the nanochannel to near its full contour length allows for the direct readout of the AP sites, even from a single CTC. This information can be used to determine how a patient is responding to therapy.


Prof. Steven A. Soper received his Ph.D. from the University of Kansas in 1989 followed by a Postdoctoral Fellowship at Los Alamos National Laboratory, where he worked on single-molecule detection for high speed sequencing of the human genome. In 1991, he joined the faculty at Louisiana State University (LSU) within the Department of Chemistry, where he filled the William H. Pryor Distinguished Chair of Chemistry. Prof. Soper also held joint appointments in the Mechanical Engineering Department and Department of Biological Sciences. While at LSU, he founded the Center for BioModular Multi-Scale Systems for Precision Medicine, which has as its primary charge to develop enabling and transformative tools for making health-related measurements at unprecedented speeds with full process automation directly at the Point-of-Care. This Center has recently been awarded funding from the National Institutes of Health as part of their Biotechnology Resource Center Program (funded through the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering).

Prof. Soper is currently a Professor in Biomedical Engineering and Chemistry at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. Prof. Soper also holds an appointment at Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology in Ulsan, South Korea, where he is a World Class University Professor. He is also serving as a Science Advisor for a number of major worldwide companies, such as Roche Diagnostics and EMD Millipore. Prof. Soper is currently the Editor of the Americas for the Analyst and on the Editorial Board for Journal of Fluorescence and Journal of Micro- and Nanosystems. Prof. Soper is also serving as a permanent Member of the Nanotechnology study panel with the National Institutes of Health.

As a result of his efforts, Prof. Soper has secured extramural funding totaling >$57M and has published over 315 manuscripts (h index = 56) and is the author of 12 patents. He is also the founder of a startup company, BioFluidica, which is marketing devices for the isolation and enumeration of circulating tumor cells. His list of awards includes Chemical Instrumentation by the American Chemical Society, the Benedetti-Pichler Award for Microchemistry, Fellow of the AAAS, Fellow of Applied Spectroscopy, Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry, R&D 100 Award, Distinguished Masters Award at LSU and Outstanding Scientist/Engineer in the state of Louisiana in 2001. Finally, Prof. Soper has granted 45 PhDs and 5 MS degrees to students under his mentorship.