James D. Sterling, PhDProfessor, KGI; Director of Postdoctoral Professional Master's Program, Faculty Director of the PSM National Office
Areas of Expertise
Bioengineering, Biosensors, Diagnostic Applications, Electrowetting, Laboratory Automation, Microfluidics
Dr. Sterling received his bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering from Texas A&M University and MS and PhD degrees in mechanical engineering from the California Institute of Technology. His scientific interests have focused on fluid mechanics, chemically-reacting fluid flows, heat transfer, dynamical systems and Lattice Boltzmann numerical methods. He worked at Los Alamos National Laboratory, TRW and Advanced Projects Research, Inc. as a systems engineer and project manager, developing a keen interest in new product development and entrepreneurship. As a founding faculty member at KGI since 2000, Dr. Sterling helped develop curriculum that prepares students of the applied life sciences to work in the development of laboratory research tools, laboratory automation, and micro-bioanalytical methods. Dr. Sterling led the development of the Marsh A. Cooper Bioengineering Laboratory at KGI and directed the Team Master's Projects (TMP) program, KGI's industry-sponsored capstone project program for professional masters degree students, from 2004-2010. Dr. Sterling served as Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of Faculty at KGI from 2009-2014 and has led the establishment of the Professional Science Master's (PSM) National Office at KGI. From 2013-2015, Dr. Sterling joined the Minerva Schools at KGI and served as the founding Interim Dean of the College of Natural Sciences and the Director of Minerva Labs.
ALS 406: Advanced Medical Devices II (Biosensors)
This course will provide the students with the fundamental understanding of basic and engineering concepts required for the design and application of electronic biosensors. Topics include operation principles of electronic biosensors, biomolecules immobilization, principle of fluid mechanics and techniques for sample preparation and mass transfer control at the sensing interface, fabrication method tools using micro and nanotechnology and implantable biosensors. Students will gain an understanding of the biosensing technology and underlying engineering principle used in modern biosensors such as wearable biosensors.ALS 412: Biosignal Processing
Gain practical skills to process and analyze physiological data such as biopotentials for the purpose of extracting meaningful information from raw sensor information through a series practical exercises using MS Excel and the R programming language. This includes (a) processing data using mathematical tools to isolate relevant information, (b) analyzing processed data to generate insights using algorithms, (c) comparing data sets to determine statistical significance, and (d) creating visualizations to communicate results of processing and analysis.ALS 458: Applied Entrepreneurship
The focus of this course is on the concepts and practice of creating a new business. The course has many components in our attempts to make it realistic and useful, and these can be collected into two major categories: identifying and evaluating business opportunities, and conceiving, writing, executing and defending a business plan.ALS 498: Professional Development for Scientists
This course introduces students to life science industry sub-sectors, providing opportunity to converse and practice the professional skills that will help them to transition and navigate their careers in the applied life sciences.
- Selected Publications
Doebler RW, Erwin B, Hickerson A, Irvine B, Woyski D, Nadim A, Sterling JD. "Continuous-Flow, Rapid Lysis Devices for Biodefense Nucleic Acid Diagnostic Systems". Jala 2009;14(3):119-125
Sterling JD, Miraghaie R, Nadim A. "Electrowetting and Droplets". In: Li D, editor. Encyclopedia of Nano and Microfluidics. Heidelberg: 2008
Daneshbod Y, Sterling JD, Nadim A. "Moment analysis of near-equilibrium binding interactions during electrophoresis". Physical Review e 2007;76(5):051922.(Also selected for the December 1, 2007 issue of Virtual Journal of Biological Physics Research)
Cooney CG, Chen CY, Emerling MR, Nadim A, Sterling JD. "Electrowetting droplet microfluidics on a single planar surface". Microfluidics and Nanofluidics 2006;2(5):435-446
Fabrizio EF, Nadim A, Sterling JD. "Resolution of multiple ssDNA structures in free solution electrophoresis". Analytical Chemistry 2003;75(19):5012-5021
Ghorbanian K, Sterling JD. "Influence of formation processes on oblique detonation wave stabilization". Journal of Propulsion and Power 1996;12(3):509-517
Sterling JD, Chen SY. "Stability analysis of lattice Boltzmann methods". Journal of Computational Physics 1996;123(1):196-206
Alexander FJ, Chen S, Sterling JD. "Lattice Boltzmann Thermohydrodynamics". Physical Review e 1993;47(4):R2249-R2252
Our research is aimed at the development of miniaturized and automated systems for biomolecular analysis. Since 2000, we have developed automated sample-to-answer systems for infectious-disease diagnostics with focus on compact, rapid, disposable systems that manipulate samples using flexible pouches, cartridges or electrowetting-based (aka digital-microfluidic, or DMF) systems.
Dr. Sterling's graduate work in chemically-reacting flows and acoustics led to an interest in dynamical systems and complex systems theory and a two-year visit to Los Alamos National Laboratory where he worked at the Center for Nonlinear Studies as a pioneer of the Lattice Boltzmann numerical method for the simulation of fluid mechanics. A common theme in the laboratory research efforts ever since has been in electrohydrodynamics and electrostatics of soft matter and application to the design and development of biological research tools and diagnostics - the current focus of our research.
Current Research Projects
Mucosal Biophysics:: The mucosal glycocalyx gel controls transport of nutrients, biomolecules, and therapeutics to and across the mucosal surface and also controls interaction with pathogens, commensals, and immune responses. Study of the glycocalyx sits at the intersection of glycomics, polymer physics, and ion-exchange biophysics. Bioengineering of the glycocalyx represents a fundamentally new opportunity to improve human health. With improved understanding of mucosal biophysics, efforts are underway to design an entirely new class of drugs that will better protect the body from infection, prevent heart disease, pulmonary disease, and GI disease. Diagnosis of mucosal health can also be performed through characterization of the mucosal biopolymers in different body fluids, gels, or tissues. Novel drug delivery mechanisms are also being developed that can combine glycan biophysics with small molecule therapeutics. Of fundamental importance to these advances are detailed functions of ionic-gel electrostatics and the billion-year evolution and co-evolution of ionic-gel barriers.
Microfluidics and Microfabrication: There is a need to miniaturize, automate and simplify biomolecular diagnostics in order to achieve desired levels of specificity, sensitivity, detection speed, and long-term stability. We are exploring the use of electrostatically actuated motion of microliter droplets, i.e. electrowetting, to develop biosensors and to automate laboratory processes that have traditionally been performed using liquid-handling robots, micro-titer plates, and translation stages. The lab is equipped with state-of-the-art microfabrication instruments to make electrowetting and microfluidic chips for performing biological and chemical protocols with the aim of incorporating them into compact handheld systems, small footprint laboratory instruments, and lab automation-compatible systems. In addition, miniaturized systems are being engineered to perform sample preparation steps for nucleic acid analysis including lysis, purification, amplification and detection.
|James D. Sterling, PhD|
|Location:||Building 517, Room 105|