The Cell Photometrics Laboratory develops fully engineered instruments and new methods for biomedical research and clinical applications. Recent projects include a commercial automated 768-lane Sanger sequencing instrument, a 384-channel parallel imaging microfluidic cytometer, a commercial van-portable forensic DNA analyser, an important new method for highly multiplexed quantitative (qPCR) expression analysis, and a new deep-ultraviolet method for “weighing” the intracellular nucleic acid and protein mass inside cells.

768-Lane Microfluidic DNA Sequencing System


Under NIH funding we develped a 768-lane Sanger sequencing machine that has been commercialized by Shimadzu Biotechnology. The “BioMEMS-768” operates with large format microfabricated glass plates and is capable of long read (1000 base-pair) de novo DNA sequencing sequencing.

DNA sequencer from Dan Ehrlich on Vimeo.


El-Difrawy SA, Lam R, Aborn JH, Novotny M, Gismondi EA, Matsudaira P, McKenna BK, O’Neil T, Streechon P and Ehrlich DJ: High throughput system for DNA sequencing. Rev Sci Instrum 76(7):074301 (2005).

Aborn JH, El-Difrawy SA, Novotny M, Gismondi EA, Lam R, Matsudaira P, McKenna BK, O’Neil T, Streechon P and Ehrlich DJ: A 768-lane microfabricated system for high-throughput DNA sequencing. Lab on a Chip 6:669-674, 2005

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384-Lane Parallel Microfluidic Cytometer

Under NIH funding we are now developing a novel 384-channel parallel microfluidic cytometer (PMC) that is capable of high-content (image-based) and rare-cell assays. This system will have more than ten-times the sample throughput of microscope-based imaging systems and may help to move cell-based assays to new applications in drug discovery, genomics, and cancer research.


McKenna, BK, Evans, JG, Cheung, MC and Ehrlich, DJ: A Parallel Microfluidic Flow
Cytometer for High-Content Screening
, Nature Methods 8, 401-403, 2011Mckenna BK, Salim H,

Ehrlich, DJ, McKenna, BK, Evans, JG, Belkina, AC, Denis, GV, Sherr, DH and Cheung MC;
Parallel Imaging Microfluidic Cytometer, Methods in Cell Biology 102, 49-75, 2011

Bringhurst FR and Ehrlich DJ; 384-Channel Parallel Microfluidic Cytometer
for Rare-Cell Screening
, Lab on a Chip 9, 305-310, 2009.

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GeneTrack: Mobile DNA Forensics

Under funding from the National Institute of Justice, we developed the first van-portable microfluidic DNA “finger-printing” instrument. “GeneTrack” is currently a commercial product – in use for rapid (e.g., crime-scene) forensics.

Goedecke N, McKenna B, El-Difrway S, Gismondi E, Swenson A, Carey L, Matsudaira P, and Ehrlich DJ, Microdevice DNA Forensics by the Simple Tandem Repeat Method, J Chroma A, 1111, 206-213 (2006).

Goedecke N, McKenna B, El-Difrawy S, Carey L, Matsudaira P and Ehrlich DJ: A high-performance multilane microdevice system designed for the DNA forensics laboratory. Electrophoresis 25(10-11):1678-1686 (2004).

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