Date of Award

January 2015

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Mechanical Engineering

First Advisor

Steven T Wereley

Committee Member 1

Cagri A Savran

Committee Member 2

Nicole L Key

Committee Member 3

T.N. Vijaykumar


Screening is a fundamental process in today’s medicine and clinical diagnostics, comprising of several processes ranging from finding new target molecules having the desired therapeutic potential to identifying biomarkers for accurate diagnosis of a spectrum of diseases. Current high throughput screening (HTS) platforms leverage sophisticated robotics to perform a large number of experiments very quickly, an otherwise unmanageable task with manual labor. However, these systems are capital intensive which limit their use to large pharmaceutical companies or larger research labs. Additionally, reagent consumption is of the order of 10-100 µL per assay, which leads to substantial consumables cost. Recently proposed droplet microfluidic technologies have the potential to substantially reduce assay costs by performing reactions using nanoliter volumes at very rapid rates. However, their incorporation into screening workflows is limited owing to various technological challenges such as on-chip droplet storage for long incubation assays, fluid waste due to large dead volumes, lack of programmable control over individual assay droplets, etc.