Chung Lab @ RPI

At the interface of fluid and biology

We are primarily focusing on advancing the knowledge in microscale fluid flow required to develop novel integrated systems. Particularly, we utilize intrinsic microscale flow behaviors at low Reynolds numbers (a.k.a. inertial microfluidics) creating novel high-throughput platforms for (1) Biomedicine and (2) Manufacturing (see below for more information).

Due to the multidisciplinary nature of the lab research we have been attracting students and researchers from a variety of backgrounds with extensive collaborations. All work to be conducted in the lab adapts state-of-the-art micro- and nano-biotechnologies. Please contact Professor Chung for more details.


Modern microfluidic field has shown great potential and possibilities in many aspects. However, the future of microfluidics is currently limited considering the time and money invested (few killer applications and huge disconnection between academia and industry). Thus, it is vital to revisit and reset research goals and directions to reassure and prove that microfluidic research is indeed a power field of study for various applications. We have been working on developing miniaturized systems that can stretch the boundaries of microfluidics particularly for biology and medicine. This simple revolutionary idea can actually be adapted and applied to any other fields in the sense of microfluidics as an enabling technology. Synergistic integration of microfluidics with other cutting edge technologies and other fields allows solving complex and unconventional problems and provides unique functionalities.

Main research Topics:

1. Quantitative single-cell manipulation and analysis

Mechanical properties associated with cytoskeletal structures (cell deformability) have been reported as label-free biomarkers of cell states and properties. We focus to develop a real-time, multiplexed, high-throughput (>1K cells/sec) and label-free cell deformability measurement platform that can be used as a screening and sorting tool to quantitatively measure cell deformaiblity for and aid in the clinical diagnosis of metastatic cancer.

2. Intracellular delivery

The introduction of nanomaterials into cells is an indispensable process for studies ranging from basic biology to clinical applications. Our lab aims to develop a novel inertial microfluidic cell hydroporator (iMCH) capable of delivering a wide range of nanomaterials to various cell types in a single-step without the aid of carriers or external apparatus. Furthermore, we put our effort to use iMCH in the applications of cellular imaging, biomanufacturing, cell-based therapies, regenerative medicine and disease diagnosis.

3. Bio-manufacturing (optofluidic fabrication)

Inertial flow deformations associated with the flow around sequentially arranged microstructures can create predictable flow patterns, a set of rotational secondary flows in the microchannel. We focus on creating multifunctional three dimensional particle for many applications in bio-micro/nanotechnology e.g. tissue engineering, cell-cell communication study platforms

4. Multimodal Photothermal Cancer Therapy:

Ovarian cancer is reported to be the fifth leading cause of death from cancer in women. While surgery is one of the most common treatment methods. We investigate to develop new method to cure cancer using engineered polymers for controlled delivery of chemotherapy aided with a less invasive photothermal therapy that will reduce the need of surgery.

5. Photolithographic Plasmonic Nanostructures for Biosensing:

Surface enhanced Raman scattering (SERS) is an important analytical sensing method because it provides label-free detection, molecularly specific information about the target of interest, and extremely high sensitivity. These advantages are mainly attributed to the local enhancement of the incident electromagnetic (EM) field that occurs when a surface Plasmon mode is excited at a metallic nanostructure. We design a flexible and wafer scale nanostructures for ultra-sensitive biomolecular detection.

6. Fudamentals of Inertial Microfluidics:

Inertial microfluidics is a relatively new field of study which involves behaviors and properties of the interactions between fluids with particles and/or fluids with structures where both inertia and viscosity become important (between Stokes and inviscid flow). In traditional microfluidics, inertia has been ignored since the associated Reynolds number (Re = ρULc /µ: a dimensionless parameter describing the ratio of inertial and viscous forces, where ρ is the fluid density, U is the flow velocity, Lc is the characteristic length of the channel and µ is the fluid viscosity) is close to zero due to the channel scale and low flow velocity. However, the Reynolds number can easily hit a non-zero value under many circumstances in microfluidic system implying non-zero fluid inertia. In microchannel, two major inertial effects (1) inertial particle migration and (2) geometry-induced secondary flows can be clearly found and we investigate fundamentals of inertial effects.