Dr. Dana Al-Sulaiman: Microfluidics and hydrogel-based platforms for multiplexed detection of microRNA biomarkers: tools to enable earlier diagnosis and more effective treatment of cancer

In this webinar, Dr. Al-Sulaiman will highlight the research conducted during her IBK fellowship, lying at the intersection between microtechnologies and polymeric biomaterials applied to both translational and fundamental research. The talk will first explore the design and validation of a portable platform for multiplex detection of microRNA cancer biomarkers from ‘liquid biopsy’ samples. Projection lithography was exploited to polymerize hydrogel sensing motifs within durable fibrous substrates, producing a platform which can be used for non-invasive cancer diagnosis at the point-of-care. The talk will then introduce developments in a microarray-based assay which can quantify tumor heterogeneities in tissue samples in order to inform clinical decision making and provide more personalized therapeutics for cancer patients. Finally, the talk will demonstrate how microfluidics can be used to study complex 2D DNA structures called kinetoplasts at the single-molecule level as models for 2D and catenated polymer systems.


Dr. Dana Al-Sulaiman is currently a postdoctorate associate in the Doyle Group (Department of Chemical Engineering) at MIT. She received both her MEng in Biomedical Engineering and her PhD in Bioengineering from Imperial College London, supported by the President’s PhD Scholarship. Her doctoral research focused on developing hydrogel-based optical and electrical platforms for the detection of an emerging class of cancer biomarkers called cell-free nucleic acids. In September 2019, Dana joined the Doyle Group at MIT as an IBK postdoctoral fellow. Her research combined microfluidics, microfabrication techniques, and hydrogels to develop biomarker detection platforms to inform clinical decision making and provide more personalized cancer therapeutics. During her fellowship, Dana authored multiple publications, completed the Kaufman Teaching Certification program, and guest lectured courses in the department. She is also the recipient of the 2019 Institute of Engineering and Technology (IET) Healthcare technologies award (William James Category).