Microfluidics Innovated


Development of an Inertial Microfluidics Based Approach for the Isolation of Mitochondria from Biological Samples

Project code: BMEP2-17, PI: Ho, Yi-Ping
Funded by: Shun Hing Institute of Advanced Engineering (SHIAE)
Starting date: July 1, 2017; Ending date: June 30, 2019


This project aims to develop a novel approach to rapidly isolate mitochondria from samples of clinically relevant sizes. While currently available methods are mostly laborious and not suitable for small-scale analyses in the clinics, the proposed approach is able to handle 200 microliters of sample and process the isolation within 30 minutes. Aside from the possibility for small-scale analysis, the proposed approach offers many distinct features, including the simple procedures, undemanding equipment request, minimal damages to the isolated mitochondria, and continuous batch processing. Possibilities to analyse mitochondria from a limited amount of clinically relevant patient samples are expected to expand our knowledge towards the basic biological mechanisms of mitochondrial function, and to elucidate how mitochondria are involved in the development of diseases such as cancers, premature aging syndromes, diabetes and neurodegenerative disorders. For instance, it becomes practical to obtain mitochondria from the patient samples, and to elucidate how defective mitochondria link to the mitochondria-associated diseases. Furthermore, the isolation principle may be tailored for an array of subcellular fractions, rendering more efficient identifications and characterizations of intracellular organelles of interest and, consequently, advancing the study of biology and medicine continuously.

Defective mitochondria have been linked to several important human diseases, that urgently calls for the fundamental understanding of the disease mechanisms. To this end, presented here is a previously unavailable strategy enabling a fast and cheap isolation of mitochondria from samples of clinically relevant sizes. The proposed technology is revolutionary, yet highly transformable to a commercial product for routine clinical investigations and biological studies. Therefore, the developed platform will have a broad appeal to the pharmaceutical and clinical sectors targeting mitochondrial diseases.