Research Projects

CMADP brings together junior and senior faculty from the physical, biological, and pharmaceutical sciences at the University of Kansas to produce a multidisciplinary center focused on developing and implementing cutting edge technologies for elucidating the genetic, chemical, and physical mechanisms of disease processes. The scientific emphasis of the Center is on the creation and implementation of enabling technologies that can be employed to identifying new therapeutic targets. This includes state of the art methods for gene sequencing, the genetic manipulation of model organisms, custom fluorescent molecular probes for monitoring physiological processes in model organisms, and microfluidic systems for manipulation and monitoring of biochemical pathways.


The center exploits the strengths of KU and associated universities in the areas of genetics, bioanalytical chemistry and synthesis. The PI, Dr. Susan Lunte is an expert in bioanalytical sensors and the application of microfluidics to bioanalysis. Co-Investigator, Dr. Blake Peterson, develops novel fluorescent probes for monitoring and controlling the transport of drugs across barriers. The third co-PI, Dr. Lundquist, is developing genetic models for neurological diseases. The PI and the co-PIs are all committed to mentoring young faculty who are interested in studying the genetic, biochemical, or physical causes of disease.

target discovery figure

The focus of this Center is on the development and implementation of new enabling technologies for the study of biological pathways and processes related to disease. The three core laboratories help facilitate this process. The figure above shows the flow chart for target discovery in the Center. By utilizing the Center Cores, junior scientists are able to translate biochemical or physical findings regarding a disease pathway to identify potential therapeutic targets. A variety of diseases are investigated including neurological disorders, cancer and cardiovascular disease.


Recent News

February 2017
CMADP Project Investigators co-author Top Downloaded article in Lab on a Chip

CMADP Co-I awarded R01 from NIH National Cancer Institute

CMADP Graduate's research featured on cover of Genetics and in other journals

October 2016
CMADP Co-I receives Mathers Foundation grant

View all news »

Upcoming Events
Special seminar by Dr. James P. Landers
Commonwealth Professor in Chemistry,
Mechanical Engineering & Pathology
University of Virginia

Wednesday, May 17, 2017 at 3:00pm
Simons Auditorium, HBC, West Campus

"Integrated Microfluidic Systems for Forensic DNA Analysis"
In 2006, we demonstrated that microfluidic technology could provide a ‘lab-on-a-chip’ solution for real-world genetic analysis. Sample-in/answer-out functionality was shown for the detection of bacteria in mouse blood and in a human nasal swab, with a sub-30 minute analytical time for DNA extraction, amplification, electrophoretic separation and detection. We extrapolated these technology developments to the analysis of short tandem repeats (STR) in human DNA; these clinically-insignificant (presumably) tetranucleotide sequences function effectively for statistically-relevant matching in human identification. Our efforts led to the development of a commercializable system designed for implementation in crime labs for STR profiling convicted felons or, in some states, profiling arrestees in booking stations. An intricate but functional microfluidic architecture allowed sample-to-profile to be achieved from a cheek swab in less than 80 minutes, using nanoliter flow control, infrared thermocycling and rapid electrophoretic separation of DNA with 5-color fluorescence detection. We have since demonstrated the fabrication of hybrid microdevices composed of inexpensive polymeric materials, many of these commercial-off-the-shelf. We have designed, built and functionalized fully-integrated DNA analysis chemistry/microfluidics on a rotationally-driven system the size of a compact disc. With this system, DNA can be extracted from a swab, PCR amplified to generate an abundance of DNA fragments of the STR loci, followed by resolution of those fragments in a separation in a 4 cm Leff channel that is complete in <300 sec with a 2-base resolution. The processes that allow for swab in–profile out microfluidics are carried out on an instrument that can be carried in one hand and weighs ~14 lbs, ultimately allowing for facile rapid human identification/screening in the field.
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