Open Cryo Tech
While tremendous progress has been made in HIV diagnostics and treatment, it remains an incurable disease, in part due to viral reservoirs, or areas of the body where dormant infected cells can persist during treatment. Research into these reservoirs is a critical step to curing HIV. Unfortunately, many “reservoir cells” are hard to sample and study, especially those in the cerebrospinal fluid. These cells are difficult to extract, isolate, and preserve for research. Our team is developing a low-cost device to isolate and cryopreserve HIV reservoir cells, with the goal of helping researchers move closer to a cure for HIV. We are currently in the research phase and hope to develop a prototype over the course of the next year.
At the end of the school year, our goal is to merge all of the sub-teams and begin prototyping a possible solution. By then the team as a whole will know if large-scale cryopreservation is an actuality and begin testing in
HIV Cell Research Team
Our goal this quarter is to research on HIV cells so as to contribute to the future goals of developing cryopreservation in relation to HIV. We plan to do as much research as we can on HIV cells, their origins, effects and analyze the research/testing techniques already being used. At the end of the quarter, our goal is to for the HIV Cell Research subteam to have enough information to be able to merge with the Cryopreservation sub-team and finalize a direction for future quarters.
We plan to determine the best vitrification method to preserve CSF samples and create a procedure to test this method’s viability. Vitrification is a method of cryopreservation that freezes biological samples without ice formation. This technique has a myriad of applications in the biotechnology field from revolutionizing organ transplantation and preserving oocytes. However, vitrification has not been able to be utilized to
Hardware and Software Team
We plan to create a microwell chip to hold the cells in the cryopreservation process and to design a system to locate and identify cells on the chip.
This quarter we are working on refining the design and manufacturing process of the chip. Honeycomb shaped microwells have been chosen as the optimal design for holding exactly one cell in each well. We are in the process of researching the size, material, and molding process for the chips. In the future, we will be creating a CAD design to manufacture our mold and testing the prototype molds.
This quarter we are working on optimizing and expanding the current Python program. The program uses computer image processing to identify which microwells have cells in them. The code needs to be updated to account for honeycomb (hexagon) shaped wells. There is also optimization to be done regarding user-friendliness and adjustability of parameters specific to each chip. In the
- Alyssa Chiang - Co-All-Team Lead
- Jefferey Okwuoma - Co-All-Team Lead
IfyAniefuna - HIV-Cell-Research Lead
- Elaine Silverman - Hardware-and-Software Lead
- Ava Aslanpour - Cryopreservation Lead
- Audrey Eckman
- David Yin
- Jennifer Chan
- Jiaqian Zhong
- Samika Shenoy
Dr. Davey Smith
- Ishan Timalsina