Nanosculpted silicon membranes for shape-based biological separations

PI: Mark Levenstein


Levenstein is an assistant professor of molecular biology and biotechnology and academic director of the master of science in applied biotechnology program. He teaches a variety of courses in biological sciences including animal tissue culture, where he trains students in aseptic technique and laboratory cell culture.

Dairy farmers contend with a broad array of pathogens in their efforts to produce high-quality milk. For example, almost 20 different microbes are known to cause mastitis, the most common disease of dairy cattle. These infections are often treated using broad spectrum antibiotics, which raises concerns of antibiotic resistance. Isolating and identifying specific culprits from small test samples will enable farmers to incorporate more focused treatment regimens with less productivity loss for their livestock. To achieve this goal, we propose to develop a nanofiltration system that can be customized to isolate microbial species. While techniques exist for the separation of particles by mass or size, they lack the precision to separate by shape. We propose a novel method to separate particles based on shape and size, using precision nanoporous membrane filters. This platform will provide a significant step forward in our ability to isolate pathogens and enable dairy farmers to more effectively manage the health of their herds.

Gokul Gopalakrishnan