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Research Vision

The goal of our group is to innovate - design, create, and build new devices - to improve medical diagnosis. Our interdisciplinary work combines "microfluidic diagnostics" with other scientific and engineering methods.

Areas of Study

Single-cell diagnostics

Microfluidic pre-concentration

Electrokinetic characterization

Chemical separation and detection

Detection of dilute target analytes

DNA/RNA extraction from blood

Biosensor design and development
Tissue dissociation

Women's health

Immunoassays

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Projects

DNA and RNA extraction from a variety of starting biological samples

DNA and RNA extraction from biological samples is essential for diagnostic applications. Microfluidics present a way to simplify and scale down this process, even to the Point-of-Care (POC). We are developing innovative approaches to this extraction from tissues, blood, and plasma samples.

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Next-Generation Sequencing Sample Preparation

The used of a modified, hyperactive Tn5 transposase integrates the first several steps of next-generation sequencing library preparation: fragmentation, end repair, and adapter ligation. Our innovative microfluidic chip can be adapted to either transposase-based or traditional library preparation chemistry.

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Microfluidic Centrifugal Device (MCD)

Exploiting centrifugal forces on a liquid moving radially between two parallel plates, the path of single cells from a homogeneous cell suspension can be precisely monitored to direct the single cells towards compartmentalized traps. The device is also being adapted to capture CTC clusters from whole blood.

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Utilization of electrokinetics in microfluidic chips

We are working on strategies that combine electrokinetic phenomenon with microfluidic chips to aid in DNA purification, separation of of molecules in samples, and more. This has been an important tool for many forms of sample preparation for molecular-based diagnostics.

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Circulating Tumor Cell (CTC) isolation for non-invasive cancer detection

CTCs are cells found in the blood of patients affected with metastatic cancer, that have shed off primary tumors and have entered the circulation. Although found in extremely low counts, their detection can provide a non-invasive diagnostic option for cancer patients.

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Novel microfluidic routes for disease detection and diagnostics

Our 3D printed microchip uses interfacial forces and magnetic beads to extract HIV viral RNA from patient samples without the need for electricity. This innovative approach to infectious disease diagnostics can be implemented in resource-limited settings.

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Non-Invasive Prenatal Testing Strategies

Non-invasive prenatal testing is an important tool for detection of fetal complications with a lower cost and risk compared to invasive procedures. We are interested in developing new testing strategies based on cell free DNA and trophoblast analysis.

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The bio-gripper

The Bio-Gripper is a novel technology designed for the application of tissue assembly. This fluid-actuated manipulator is able to grasp and lift millimeter-scale tissue constructs, transport them in a three-dimensional domain, and precisely place them at their target destination without deformation of the self-assembled tissue geometry.

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Research Teams

The Tripathi Lab consists of multiple autonomously functioning research teams. These research teams explore a variety of different topics and depend on student interest. Current research teams as of 2023 are the Next-Generation Sequencing Assay Development Team, Microfluidics Discovery Team, Clinical Diagnostics and Automation Team, Immunoassay Development Team, and the Fluidic-Electronic Device Engineering Team.

Biopharmaceutical Assay Development Team

Jenna Rutberg (Team Lead)

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Jenna Rutberg is a 1st year Ph.D. student in Biomedical Engineering from Massachusetts who joined the lab in Summer 2023. Her research currently focuses on the development of microfluidic assays for biopharmaceutical development.
Jenna’s work is conducted with the goal of helping patients through the creation of effective screening platforms and techniques to accelerate the drug discovery process.
Before joining the lab, Jenna completed her B.Sc. in Biomedical Engineering concentrated in Cell & Tissue Engineering and minoring in Psychology at Northeastern University. During her time at Northeastern University, she completed co-ops in the medical device and biopharmaceutical technology industries. Outside of the lab, Jenna likes to volunteer, explore Rhode Island, and test out new recipes for cooking & baking.

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Sophia Esch

Sophia Esch is a second year from Maine concentrating in Biomedical Engineering. She is interested in traveling and spending time outdoors. In the lab, she has been working with Jenna on various assays, such as Glycan Analysis, Charge Variant and Gel Electrophoresis, with the goal to learn more about antibodies.

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Stephen Yang

Stephen Yang is a freshman from Ithaca, New York concentrating in Computational Biology. He is interested in exploring algorithmic approaches to novel questions in the biomedical field. Currently he is working on leveraging machine learning for assay development for biopharmaceuticals. Outside of the lab he enjoys making music and getting out into nature.

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Olivia Baptiste

Olivia Baptiste is a sophomore from Arlington, Virginia concentrating in Biomedical Engineering on the Pre-Med track. She is passionate about community building and inclusivity within engineering. In the lab, she works on assay development for biopharmaceuticals.

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Yareli Macias-Sanchez

Yareli is a junior from Denver, Colorado studying biomedical engineering. She hopes to build a stronger and more present Latine community within STEM. In the lab, she works with Jenna to develop various assays for different biopharmaceuticals.

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Clinical Diagnostics and Automation Team

Ramisa Fariha

Ramisa Fariha is a Ph.D. candidate in Biomedical Engineering from Bangladesh. At the Tripathi Lab, her work focuses on the design and development of liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS)-based assays for clinical applications, especially in the female reproductive health realm (PCOS, Endocrine Disorders, Therapeutic Drug Monitoring) and oncology (in vitro to in vivo extrapolation studies, organ on a chip). Ramisa utilizes principles of thermodynamics and microfluidics to make analyte detection faster and automatable, for microsamples and dried blood spots. Ramisa serves as the Chair of Interational Advocacy at the Brown Graduate Student Council (GSC), and she is also the founder and President of South Asian Scholars in STEM (SASS). Outside of Brown, she actively volunteers and mentors through Society of Women Engineers (SWE), Females in Mass Spectrometry (FeMS), the Early Career Committee at Society for Laboratory Automation and Screening (SLAS), and American Association of Cancer Research (AACR). Ramisa received her bachelor's (Penn State 2017) and master's (Brown 2020) in Biomedical Engineering, prior to her current role. During her free time, she enjoys painting, writing, and weightlifting.

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Emma Rothkopf

is a part-time Research Assistant (and undergraduate Brown BME alumna) from Wilton, CT. Her research focuses on technology development of a faster detection of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) from dried blood spot (DBS) samples- that earned her the Ionata Engineering Award at Brown. Additionally, she investigates and optimizes molecular detection on the mass spec for all ongoing studies. At present, she is pursuing an MBA degree at Bryant University, while playing field hockey for their varsity team.

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Ellse Mine M. Saint-Paul

is a first-year master’s student from Cayes, South, Haiti. Her research focuses on organ-on-a-chip platform development and oncology applications for LC-MS/MS. She has her bachelor’s from Regis College in Biomedical Engineering, and she feels passionately about minority representation in STEM. Outside the lab, she enjoys cooking, traveling, and advocating for minorities in STEM.

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Nondi Walters

is a 5th year master’s student in Biomedical Engineering from Atlanta, GA. Her research focuses on cost-effective fabrication of organ-on-a-chip platform, in addition to prototype testing for all ongoing studies in the team. she serves in the Executive Board of Brown University ‘Groundbreaking’, Minorities in the Built Environment, and the St. Anthony Hall Literary Society. She is the lead course designer for “Intro to Engineering and Design” and a TA for the BME capstone class. In her free time, she enjoys Muay Thai, Jiujitsu, Table-Top Gaming, and writing.

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Farhan Haque

is rising senior at the Princeton Day School, who joined the team as a summer research intern, and is currently working remotely with the team. Farhan’s work includes automating all the study protocols on the JANUS G3 Robotic Liquid Handler, and program codes for faster data analysis. Additionally, he assists David, and Nondi with deep dive reports for project development.

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Oluwanifemi ‘David’ Okoh

is a junior in Biomedical Engineering on the pre-med track, from Austin, TX. His research focuses on scaling down the different sample preparation techniques, prototyping, and investigating artificial matrices for LC-MS/MS diagnostic applications. Outside the lab, he serves as the Vice President of the National Society of Black Engineers, and he is a member of the Beta Omega Chi fraternity, and Nigerian Students Association. He enjoys bike rides and playing different sports.

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Microfluidics Discovery Team

Adriana Coll De Peña (Team Leader)

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is a third year Biomedical Engineering Ph.D. Candidate from the Dominican Republic who joined the Tripathi Lab in 2020. Her research focuses on the development of miniaturized/microfluidic techniques to analyze and characterize biopharmaceuticals (AAV, LNP, mRNA vaccines) and screen for diseases (breast cancer, aneuploidy). More specifically, she focuses on exploiting microfluidic and electrokinetic concepts to differentiate biomolecules based on the biochemical properties. Adriana has been able to present this work at numerous national and international conferences. She has also had the opportunity of mentoring eight undergraduate students, including her four current ones, and a high school student. Outside of lab, she is the treasurer for the Society for Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS). Prior to joining the lab, Adriana completed an M.S. in Science, Technology and Public Policy (2020), a B.S. in Biomedical Engineering (2020) and a B.S. in Biotechnology and Molecular Bioscience (2017) from the Rochester Institute of Technology. During her free time, she enjoys traveling,
SCUBA diving and capturing wildlife with her camera.

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Nina Li

is a junior from California concentrating in Biomedical Engineering. She is passionate about creative design. In the lab, her projects have focused on developing a microfluidic purity assessment method for mRNA vaccines and understanding the electrophoretic mobility of long nucleic acids.

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Everett Gutterman-Johns

is a sophomore concentrating in Neuroscience on the PreMed track. Since joining the lab, he has helped develop a method to analyze the lipid and nucleic acid loads of LNPs. As part of this work, he explored how different fluoro phores could interact with the lipid layer.

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Matei Vaduva

is a sophomore from Romania concentrating in Cell and Molecular Biology. While he has explored different projects since joining the lab, most of his work has focused around understanding how mRNA structure affects its mobility in microfluidic systems, and how it can be manipulated for analysis.

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Nicole Chen

is a sophomore concentrating in Neuroscience on the Pre-Med track. The focus of her work in the lab has been increasing the understanding of LNP behavior upon interacting with detergents such as SDS, which has informed the development of a lipid characterization method.

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Immunoassay Development Team

Jennifer Pollock

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is a 1st year PhD student in Biomedical Engineering from California who joined the lab in fall 2022. Her research is focused on developing ultra-sensitive immunoassay tests for the detection of disease biomarkers for clinical and research applications. More specifically, her work includes optimizing antibody coated bead capture efficiencies and qPCR signal amplification. Jennifer is interested in investigating how these ultra-sensitive tests can be used to diagnose and monitor the early stages of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's. Before coming to Brown University, Jennifer completed her undergraduate degree in Chemical Engineering at UC Santa Barbara (2022). In her free time, she enjoys hiking, baking, and kickboxing.

Jennifer Piserchia

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is a 1st year Master's student in Biomedical Engineering. Jen received her Bachelor of Science in Biomedical Engineering from The College of New Jersey in 2019. She has spent the past 3+ years in the medical device industry as a process development engineer in additive manufacturing. Jen joined the lab in Fall 2022 and is working on the development of sensitive assays for the early diagnosis of female reproductive disorders such as endometriosis.

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Next-Generation Sequencing Assay Development Team

The Assay Development Team engineers automated NGS sample preparation assays for the Bio Qule NGS system, incorporating a variety of starting samples and nucleic acid fragmentation methods, and are expanding their expertise to sequencing, sequencing instrumentation, and RNA-Seg. Their work focuses on the biochemical and biomolecular fundamentals of NGS sample preparation and sequencing technology for clinically relevant applications such as epigenomics and gene expression analysis.

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Dulguunnaran Naranbat

is from Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia and received his Bachelor of Science degree in Biochemistry from Trinity College, Hartford CT in 2019. Duuluu joined the Tripathi lab in 2020 and his research focus is infectious diseases diagnostics, genetic sequencing, laboratory automation, and bacterial decontamination.

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Khaliun Myagmar (Haku)

is a visiting researcher from Mongolia . She completed her bachelor's and master's degrees in Biomedical science in her home country. In the Tripathi lab, she has been focusing on next-generation sequencing library preparation and automation, DNA & RNA extraction, PCR & molecular biology techniques. She focuses on assay quality control, validation, data collection and analysis.

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Sabrina Tolppi

is a sophomore from Connecticut pursving her Sc.B. in Biomedical Engineering. Her work focuses on the engineering of reaction chemistries for assay automation platforms. She explores the interface between mechanical, chemical, and biological elements of assays while considering viability in clinical, research, and commercial settings.

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Khulan Unurbuyan (Hulana)

is from Mongolia and went to the Mongolian National University of Medical Sciences for her undergraduate degree and master’s degree in biomedical research. She used to work on cell cultures at the Institute of Medical Sciences in Mongolia. Hulana is a visiting researcher in the Tripathi lab at Brown. She is currently working on assay development for the NGS library preparation using the Bioqule NGS system. She focuses on assay quality control, validation, data collection and analysis.

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Jennifer Figueroa-Cruz

is a Biomedical Engineering ScM. candidate from Puerto Rico. Since joining the Tripathi lab she works on Next Generation Sequencing Library Preparation and focuses on assay development and translating for automation. Her interests lie in the integration of computational and mechanical analyses for biological and clinical research.

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Kathryn Whitehead

is a first year biomedical engineering PhD student from New Jersey She is currently working on the development of automated devices for sequencing sample preparation and diagnostics. Prior to joining Brown, she obtained her bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering at the University of Maryland, College Park.

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Cell and Tissue Devices Team

The Cell and Tissue Devices Team works on advancements in cell and tissue analysis, focusing on developing a tissue dissociation device that fully automates the separation of tissue samples and organoids into purified single-cell suspensions. Applications for these single cells include bulk/single-cell DNA/RNA sequencing, enabling in-depth exploration of cellular genetics and molecular makeup. Additionally, the team optimizes workflows for microtissue and organoid culture, and investigates their diagnostic applications, aiming to enhance disease detection and characterization. Our cutting-edge research hopes to drive forward the frontiers of cell and tissue analysis, offering insights with far-reaching implications for regenerative medicine, personalized healthcare, and disease diagnosis and treatment.

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Sarah Planchak (Team Lead)

received her Master's in Bioengineering, specializing in Tissue Engineering and Biomaterials, from the University of Sheffield in the UK, where she grew up. She joined the Tripathi Lab in the fall of 2023 and began working on a tissue dissociation device for single cell sequencing and analysis.   Sarah is interested in cell, tissue, and gene therapies, and tissue engineering/ organ regeneration particularly in the cardiovascular field.

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Joshua Phelps

is a senior studying Computer Science and Engineering. He is working on software and electrical components of the tissue dissociation device. Joshua enjoys robotics and photography.

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Benjamin Phelps

is one of our talented researchers working on innovative projects here at the lab.

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Alejandra (Ale) Hernandez Moyers

is a sophomore studying Biomedical Engineering. She is working in optimizing the tissue dissociation device and has begun engaging in organoid development. Ale is from Mexico, enjoys doing acrobatics, and pipetting.

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Taehoon Park

received his Bachelor of Science in Industrial Design from the University of Bridgeport in 2018. He has spent last 6 years in product development as an industrial designer and has worked in various product categories. Taehoon is a graduate student at Brown+RISD MADE program and joined the Tripathi lab in Summer 2023 to contribute to the medical device development for Dr. Tripathi’s projects.

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Mehmet Topal

a sophomore studying Computer Engineering, who has recently joined the Tripathi Lab.

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Fluidic-Electronic Device Engineering Team

Cel Welch

(Team Leader)

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is a rising fifth year Biomedical Engineering Ph.D. Candidate. Cel's research focuses on engineering new devices for cellular diagnostics (cancer, bacterial infection, fetal health, etc.). In particular, Cel explores the intersection of microfluidics, bioelectronics, and biosensors, with an interest in creating integrated systems. Often starting with fundamental physics and working up, Cel develops new technologies to both manipulate and detect cells for improved single-cell analysis.


Most of Cel's early doctoral work focused on developing new physical mechanisms and devices for tissue dissociation. Now, Cel primarily focuses on integrated devices and biosensors in order to create improved cell isolation and detection systems.


Prior to joining the lab, Cel completed a B.Sc. At McGill University in Canada. Cel has since completed a concurrent Sc.M. degree at Brown University, also in BME. When not doing research, Cel runs a nonprofit organization for diversity in engineering, teaches at Columbia, and enjoys hiking and plant-based cooking

Riley Renee Flores

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is a Research Engineer from New Jersey with a Bachelor of Science in Biomedical Engineering from Brown. Their research interests include the study, creation, and application of diagnostic and other medical devices. As part of it, finding methods to make these devices low cost and easily accessible for research or clinical purposes. Since joining the lab, they have contributed to various projects, including the electrical tissue dissociation device project. They are now working on an independent biosensor project that utilizes electrochemical impedance spectroscopy-based detection. Riley will continue their education and research at Dartmouth's Ph.D. Biomedical Engineering program in the fall.

Emma Hagenaars

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is a rising senior from Maine studying Biomedical Engineering on the premed track. Her primary research focuses on the use of QCM-D technology to optimize chlamydia detection via novel immunosensor platforms. Additionally, she works on the Electro-DBS project in which she conducts experiments relating to DNA quantification after electrical treatment. Outside of the lab, Emma is an active member of Society of Women Engineers (SWE) and American Medical Women's Association (AMWA) here at Brown. She also serves as a mentor for Women in Science & Engineering (WISE), is the director of Fashion@Brown's Hair & Makeup Team, and volunteers as a Connect for Health Advocate at Hasbro Children's Hospital.

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