Biointerfaces Institute at NCRC furthers the collaborative research mission

Nagrath lab a true example of research across disciplines

Dr. Sunitha Nagrath, a faculty member in the Biointerfaces Institute located at NCRC, exemplifies cross-disciplinary collaborative research. At NCRC since February 2012, Nagrath has had ample time to settle in and appreciate the advantages that NCRC offers in terms of co-location of researchers from across disciplines, sharing contiguous lab space.

Nagrath’s research goal is to bring the next generation of engineering tools to patient care, especially in cancer. Her lab develops advanced MEMS tools for understanding cell trafficking in cancer through isolation, characterization and study of circulating cell in peripheral blood of cancer patients. Separating cancer cells from the blood allows them to be used for diagnosis and monitoring of the disease. In particular, the Nagrath lab is developing microfluidic devices for isolating and studying cancer cells as related to metastasis.

Nagrath feels that the NCRC model is an excellent fit with her research needs. Although she is an engineer, she and her researchers work at the intersection of engineering, biology and medicine. It is important for her to be able to collaborate and interact with oncologists, biologists, chemists and physicists. NCRC offers the right platform for such collaborative work. Next door to the Nagrath lab is Dr. Max Wicha’s oncology lab with whom Nagrath is working to isolate cancer stem cells.

“Having the opportunity to just walk into that lab and grab some cells from them, or grab one of their researchers to show them what we are working on and interact daily is a huge benefit,” says Nagrath.

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