476193 Microfluidic Line of Attack to Comprehend Biological Systems

Sunday, November 13, 2016
Continental 4 & 5 (Hilton San Francisco Union Square)
Swastika S. Bithi, Chemical Engineering, Texas Tech University, Lubbock, TX

Research Interests:

My research interests lie in developing microfluidic systems that have applications in cellular and other biological systems analysis as well as medical diagnostics and drug discovery. My primary goal is to investigate the cellular heterogeneity of primary cancer / patient-derived cells. Assessing cellular-level heterogeneity can provide a better understanding in a patient-specific manner how chemotherapy drugs interact with cancer cells so that personalized treatments can be designed. This goal will be extended to isolate individual cells of a desired phenotype and expand them for manufacturing of therapeutic cell lines. Single-cell isolation and expansion is a broad platform that can impact areas of tissue engineering, regenerative medicine, and disease therapies. Apart from cellular study, I would also like to utilize microfluidic systems to perform biological and biomedical assays with low sample/reagent volumes and parallelization capabilities. One of my targeted area will be the fundamental study of crystal nucleation and growth for different body-stones (crystals) in the gallbladder, kidney, and pancreas. My diverse research background—which includes experience with cell cultures, cell assays, and engineering microfluidic platforms for biological and chemical analysis—combined with training in novel experimental tools—such as advanced high-speed imaging techniques, fluorescence microscopy, confocal microscopy and scanning electron microscopy, particle image velocimetry, and microfabrication—puts me in a unique position to pursue active research in these areas.

In addition to my research expertise, my current position as Research Assistant Professor provides me hands-on experience with proposal writing for external funding along with interactions with prospective collaborators. These additional experiences put me a step ahead to propel my future research endeavors as a tenure-track faculty in the fields of cancer therapy and diagnostics.

Teaching Interests:

Apart from my research career, I have extensive teaching experiences as an instructor and teaching assistant at two different institutions. The first class that I taught as an instructor was ‘Chemical Engineering Transport Laboratory’ at Texas Tech University. Along with my teaching, I’ve also designed and developed two new experimental demonstrations that had been included in ‘Unit Operation Laboratory’ and ‘Chemical Engineering Transport Laboratory’ courses. The second-class as instructor was ‘Introduction to Chemical Processes’ a sophomore level course at Texas Tech. I have also held teaching duties as teaching assistant for undergrad fluid mechanics (Texas Tech), transport phenomena (University of North Dakota). I did guest lectures for two consecutive years for ‘Introduction to Microsystems I’ (senior and graduate level Electrical Engineering course) at Texas Tech. With respect to future teaching plans, I am capable of teaching both undergraduate and graduate level classes in Chemical Engineering. At the graduate level, I will offer new course ‘Biomicrofabrication and Biomicrofluidics’ that will emphasize microfabrication techniques, microscale flows and approaches for cellular analysis.

Proposal Contributions:NSF AIR-TT, NSF EAGER, and CPRIT.


Ph.D., Chemical Engineering, Texas Tech University, Lubbock, TX, 2013

M.S., Chemical Engineering, University of North Dakota, Grand Forks, ND, 2008

B.Sc., Chemical Engineering, Bangladesh University of Engineering & Technology, Dhaka, Bangladesh, 2004


Research Assistant Professor, Department of Chemical Engineering, Texas Tech University, 03/2016-Present.

Post-doctoral Research Associate, Department of Chemical Engineering, Texas Tech University, 10/2014-03/2016.

Teaching (Instructor), Department of Chemical Engineering, Texas Tech University, 01/2014-08/2014.

Invention Disclosures:

  1. Vanapalli, S. A., Bithi, S. S. and Sun, M. Methods and devices to control fluid volumes, reagent and particle concentration in arrays of microfluidic drops, US Patent Application 20140051062, 2014.
  2. Vanapalli, S. A., Bithi, S. S. Microfluidic devices and methods of bioassays, PCT/US2016/036787, filed June 2016.


  1. Bithi, S. S. and Vanapalli, S. A. Collective Dynamics of Non-Coalescing and Coalescing Droplets in Microfluidic Parking Networks, Soft Matter, 11, 5122-5132, (2015)
  2. Bithi, S. S., Wang, W. S., Sun, M., Blawzdziewicz, J. and Vanapalli, S. A. Coalescing drops in microfluidic parking networks: A multifunctional platform for drop-based microfluidics, Biomicrofluidics, 8(3), 034118, (2014)
  3. Bithi, S. S. and Vanapalli, S. A. Behavior of a train of droplets in a fluidic network with hydrodynamic traps, Biomicrofluidics, 4, 044110, (2010) (Selected as Research Highlight)
  4. Sun, M., Bithi, S. S. and Vanapalli, S. A. Microfluidic static droplet arrays with tuneable gradients in material composition, Lab on a Chip, 11, 3949, (2011) (Cover article)
  5. Maddala. J, Srinivasan, B., Bithi, S. S., Vanapalli, S. A. and Rengaswamy, R. Design of a model-based feedback controller for droplet sorting and synchronization in a microfluidic loop, AIChE J, 58, 2120, (2011)

Extended Abstract: File Not Uploaded