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California State University at Los Angeles - California Institute of Technology MRSEC PREM

Students and staff - California State University at Los Angeles - Califorinia Institute of Technology PREM faculty Frank A. Gomez and Grady Hanrahan with CSULA PREM students Erica Garcia, Froseen Dahdouh and Alvaro Gomez and Caltech PREM student George Maltezos taking a break during a research meeting

By fostering and nurturing interactions between faculty and students at CSULA and Caltech, participants are exposed to an advance discovery and understanding of new materials. The program involves undergraduate, graduate and high school students and postdoctoral fellows who participate in cutting-edge interdisciplinary research coupled with educational seminars, workshops, faculty mentoring and advising, and student presentations at scientific conferences. The PREM program consists of three research subprojects and two SEED projects. In addition, other small summer projects involving high school students take place during the summers. Specifically, the three research subprojects involve:

  • microfluidic device (MD) development using poly(dimethylsiloxane) (PDMS) by Frank A. Gomez (CSULA) and Axel Scherer (Caltech);
  • drug release design using fluoroalkyl poly(ethylene glycol) (Rf-PEG) species by Yong Ba (CSULA), Julie Kornfield (Caltech), and;
  • singlet oxygen generation from water-soluble quantum dot-organic dye nanocomposites by Matthias Selke (CSULA) and Brian Stoltz (Caltech).

The SEED projects involve the development of flow-based fiber optic analysis on microchip platforms by Grady Hanrahan (CSULA), Gomez and Scherer and the development of novel organic photoswitches by Alison McCurdy (CSULA). Computational projects in the Gomez and Ba labs are collaborative efforts with William Goddard and Mario Blanco (Caltech). The CSULA-Caltech PREM program is the model program of collaboration between institutions that has effectively demonstrated the great things possible when students and faculty work together. Listed below are only some of the many exciting and worthwhile accomplishments since the inception of the program.

Research Accomplishments

Development of Binding Assays On-a-Chip Use of new materials for microfluidics and respective applications - a novel binding assay technique on-a-chip.

The Gomez group has developed a novel magnetic actuator valve for microfluidics using poly(dimethylsiloxane) (PDMS), developed a binding assay on-a-The Gomez group has developed a novel magnetic actuator valve for microfluidics using poly(dimethylsiloxane) (PDMS), developed a binding assay on-a-chip for measuring affinity constants to antibiotics on magnetic beads, coupled affinity capillary electrophoresis (ACE) to a microfluidic device (MD) in PDMS, developed microcolumn chromatography in PDMS 3D chip/blocks and developed the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) on-a-chip. The Selke group has established that water-soluble quantum dot-organic dye nanocomposites can produce singlet oxygen with a quantum yield that is sufficiently high for biological applications. The Ba group synthesized an electron spin labeled anticancer drug, chlorambucil-tempol Adduct (CT), for probing the drug loading in Rf-PEG micelles. They have done proliferation assays to evaluate the biocompatibility and citotoxicity of Rf-PEG as a drug delevery material and have proven that Rf-PEG is as good as PEG. The Hanrahan group has developed PDMS and Sifel-based microfluidics using flow-injection (FI) employing fiber optics detection. The McCurdy group has shown, via circular dischroism (CD) spectroscopy of six designed pairs of peptides that, in almost all cases, the pairs of amino acids examined stabilize the helix. The Gomez and Ba groups have submitted provisional patents on their magnetic actuator work and tempol adduct drug work, respectively, funded by PREM. Fifteen publications have resulted from PREM funding

Educational Accomplishments

PREM student Alvaro Gomez PREM undergraduate Alvaro Gomez is busily developing PCR on-a-chip and microcolumn separations.

Fourteen PREM students have graduated and are either in graduate school, undergraduate school or in industry. Since 2004 15 high school students from four high schools have participated in the PREM high school summer research program. Eight of these students are now in college. There have been 49 research and educational presentations by students and faculty since the inception of the PREM program. There are currently 14 PREM students and three postdoctoral fellows in the PREM program.

PREM Highlights

In July, 2006 PREM faculty and students from CSULA and Caltech met in San Diego for a weekend-long retreat to discuss latest research results and to participate in career development workshops. The retreat provided a good mechanism for students and post-docs to discuss their PREM-funded research and to hear suggestions from other PREM participants. In September, 2006, the first annual PREM/CSEM Day took place at Caltech. The goal of the retreat was to provide a forum for fruitful discussions on research at both institutions in the hopes of spawning new collaborative efforts between the two institutions. The first PREM symposium was held at the San Francisco ACS meeting on September 10. It featured 14 speakers on an array of topics associated with five PREM programs.

Selected Publications

  1. L. Shi, B. Hernandez, Selke M. “Singlet Oxygen Generation from Water-Soluble Quantum Dot-Organic Dye Nanocomposites”, J. Am. Chem. Soc. 128, 6278-6279, (2006).
  2. A. Prabhutendolkar, X. Liu, E. Mathias, Y. Ba, J.A. Kornfield, “Synthesis of Chlorambucil-Tempol Adduct and its Delivery Using Fluoroalkyl Double-Ended Poly (Ethylene Glycol) Micelles”, Drug Delivery 13, 433-440, (2006).
  3. A. Gaspar, M. Piyasena, L.Daroczi, F.A. Gomez, “Magnetically Controlled Valve for Flow Manipulation in Polymer Microfluidic Devices”, Micofluid. Nanofluid., (2007), in press.
Principal Investigator : 
Frank A. Gomez, Professor and PREM Director