Aubrey Kusi-Appiah1 Steven Lenhert1

1, Biological Science, Florida State University, Tallahassee, Florida, United States

A current obstacle in the use of synthetic biology for materials synthesis and discovery is the high throughput characterization of novel materials produced by biological organisms. Furthermore, identifying the environmental conditions that allow biological cells to produce the desired materials is challenging due to the large amount of possible cell culture ingredients and conditions. High throughput screening is currently carried out in the pharmaceutical industry for this purpose, but is cost prohibitive for many materials applications. Miniaturization of high throughput screening promises to lower the cost and allow portable screens suitable for academic labs. We have developed a novel screening platform compatible with standard cell culture techniques that is scalable to a screen of 50,000 different materials on the area of a single titer plate using cell-based assays.[1] The technology is based on lipid droplet microarrays on surfaces where the droplets encapsulate different compounds or nanomaterials. Development of this technology required solving several technical challenges, including scalable fabrication,[2] quantification of the dosage delivered from the droplets,[3] and most recently chemical processing to ensure stability upon immersion into aqueous solution.[4] The technology is now ready to be applied to high throughput screening in synthetic biology.

[1] A. E. Kusi-Appiah, N. Vafai, P. J. Cranfill, M. W. Davidson, S. Lenhert, Biomaterials 2012, 33, 4187.
[2] T. W. Lowry, A. Kusi-Appiah, J. J. Guan, D. H. Van Winkle, M. W. Davidson, S. Lenhert, Advanced Materials Interfaces 2014, 1, 1300127.
[3] A. E. Kusi-Appiah, T. W. Lowry, E. M. Darrow, K. A. Wilson, B. P. Chadwick, M. W. Davidson, S. Lenhert, Lab Chip 2015, 15, 3397.
[4] A. E. Kusi-Appiah, T. W. Lowry, N. Vafai, D. H. Van Winkle, S. Lenhert, 2017 Fluid Lipid Multilayer Stabilization by Tetraethyl Orthosilicate for Underwater AFM Characterization and Cell Culture Applications. MRS Advances 2, 3553-3558.