BE SEMINAR – Daniel Kamei, Ph.D. (UCLA)

Speaker: Daniel Kamei, Ph.D.
Affiliation: Department of Bioengineering

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Title: ‚ÄúThermodynamic Concentration and Detection of SARS-CoV-2 Biomarkers‚ÄĚ

Our research group takes an engineering science approach to developing robust point-of-care diagnostics by basing our fundamental technology on thermodynamic partitioning. Our laboratory has distinguished itself in the emerging field of paper-based diagnostics by being the first to demonstrate that an aqueous two-phase system (ATPS) could be used to concentrate a target biomarker into a smaller volume before application to a lateral-flow immunoassay (LFA) strip to enhance overall LFA sensitivity. Our research group followed this work by significantly shortening the time for macroscopic phase separation from hours to minutes through discovering that paper could enhance the phase separation behavior of ATPSs. The ATPS mixture was found to separate into its two phases as it flowed towards the detection zone, allowing for the concentration and detection steps to occur simultaneously. Our laboratory further exploited this paper-based phase separation phenomenon to sequentially deliver signal enhancement reagents to the detection zone. Signal enhancement can further improve the limit of detection and sensitivity by magnifying the color observed at the test line. With regard to nucleic acid detection, we achieved the first application of ATPSs to isothermal DNA amplification, where our group combined isothermal amplification with a micellar ATPS to simultaneously achieve cell lysis, lysate processing, and enhanced nucleic acid amplification in a simple, one-step process. This presentation will discuss these technological developments and their recent extension to the detection of antibodies against SARS-CoV-2, as well as RNA and the nucleocapsid protein of SARS-CoV-2.


Dr. Daniel Kamei is a Professor in the Department of Bioengineering at UCLA. Dr. Kamei received his Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from MIT in 2001 and performed postdoctoral research in Biological Engineering at MIT from 2001 to 2003 before starting his faculty position at UCLA in the summer of 2003. His research group has been focused on developing point-of-care diagnostics for early disease detection, which is challenging due to the low concentrations of biomarkers that are present at the initial stages of disease. He received the Early Career Award from the Wallace H. Coulter Foundation and the Kimmel Scholar Award from the Sidney Kimmel Foundation for Cancer Research, and was also selected to be a member of the inaugural class of the Society for Laboratory Automation and Screening (SLAS) Fellows. Dr. Kamei has also received numerous teaching awards including the UCLA Academic Senate Distinguished Teaching Award. He is also a co-founder and member
of the scientific advisory board of the start-up PHASE Scientific, which announced in spring of this year the commercial launch of their product for purifying and concentrating SARS-CoV-2 RNA.

Seminar Flyer

Date(s) - Dec 03, 2020
12:00 pm - 1:00 pm

Engineering V, Room 2101
410 Westwood Plaza Los Angeles CA 90095