Sepsis is a life-threatening dysfunction of organs, usually caused by a dysregulated immune system fighting a microbial infection. To efficiently treat sepsis, a timely and correct dosage of antibiotics is extremely important. The antimicrobial susceptibility test (AST) is a general laboratory procedure to determine the effective antimicrobial for individual patients. However, current AST methods still required prolonged bacterial culture, treatment, and labor-intensive sample preparation steps. To address the above problems, we integrate the microfluidic platform with surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS) to perform rapid, automated, and multiplex AST. Based on its automation and micro-environmental control features, the microfluidic system consisting of a series of branches and microwell array can perform on-chip bacteria sample processing steps, including enrichment, isolation, and purification. Furthermore, the system can create an antibiotic concentration gradient for high-throughput and multiplex AST and minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) in a single chip. We envision a sample-efficient, accurate, and multiplex SERS-AST platform, allowing clinicians to monitor real-time patient conditions better, predict their prognosis, and provide timely treatments.
Dr. Nien-Tsu Huang is currently an associate professor at the Graduate Institute of Biomedical Electronics and Bioinformatics and the Department of Electrical Engineering at National Taiwan University. He received his BS in Mechanical Engineering and MS in Applied Mechanics from National Taiwan University in 2003 and 2005, respectively. He received his Ph.D. degree in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, in 2012. His research focuses on developing integrated microfluidics for whole blood processing and in-situ analyte detection, optofluidics for on-chip cellular manipulation and detection, single-cell analysis, optical and electrical-based biosensor. He was selected as the Lab on a Chip Emerging Investigator in 2016 and Stanford-Taiwan Biodesign (STB) program visiting scholar, 2021. He serves as a guest editor for Micromachine and Nanomaterials, and Editorial Board Member for Scientific Reports.