Giridhar M. Anand
MIT EECS — Himawan Undergraduate Research and Innovation Scholar
Cellular Trojan Horses
Reading the environment inside living cells is a current challenge for biology. Our goal is to design a procedure for inserting functional silicon chips into cells for quantitative biosensing. The main barrier to chip insertion is a physical one: the cell membrane acts as a filter against large, foreign matter. In proof-of-concept studies, silicon chips of sizes on the order of microns have been successfully inserted into macrophages by exploiting phagocytosis behavior, as well as into human HeLa cells using lipofection, where chips are coated in a specific combination of lipids that fuse with the membrane. We hope to build on these techniques to develop a quick, reliable way to introduce chips into a cell population and potentially record in vivo signals from within the cell.
The summer of freshman year I worked in the Compbio group to test a protein conformation model and assess its response to neutral and deleterious point mutations. This past summer I worked in the Touch Lab at University College London to characterize the cuticles of C. elegans mutants. Through these and through an MIT lab course, I have been exposed to various analytical techniques in biology to help me with my SuperUROP.