James D. Sterling, PhDVice President for Academic Affairs; Dean, School of Applied Life Sciences; Sidney J. Weinberg Professor
Bioengineering, Biosensors, Diagnostic Applications, Electrowetting, Laboratory Automation, Microfluidics
Dr. Sterling received a BS degree in mechanical engineering from Texas A&M University and MS and PhD degrees in mechanical engineering from California Institute of Technology. As a founding faculty member at KGI, Dr. Sterling has developed engineering coursework that prepares students of the applied life sciences to work in the development of laboratory research tools, laboratory automation, and micro-bioanalytical methods. He has taught courses in elements of engineering design, biotransport, microfluidics and microfabrication, flow cytometry, and product development. Dr. Sterling led the development of the Marsh A. Cooper Bioengineering Laboratory at KGI and directed the Team Masters Projects (TMP) program, KGI's industry-sponsored capstone project program for professional masters degree students, from 2004-2010.
His scientific interests have focused on fluid mechanics, chemically-reacting fluid flows, heat transfer, dynamical systems and Lattice Boltzmann numerical methods. He worked at TRW and Advanced Projects Research, Inc. as a systems engineer and project manager, developing a keen interest in new product development and entrepreneurship.
As Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of Faculty at KGI, Dr. Sterling works with the institution's outstanding faculty and staff to facilitate the preparation of students for careers leading to leadership roles in the life sciences industry. KGI has had several important entrepreneurial successes since its inception and Dr. Sterling looks forward to continuing this legacy by supporting KGI programs that engage students, faculty, and corporate partners in entrepreneurial ventures.
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
Dr. Sterling co-directs the Microfluidics Research Laboratory at KGI with Dr. Ali Nadim. Their current research is aimed at the development of miniaturized and automated systems for biomolecular analysis. The development of automated sample-to-answer systems for nucleic acid diagnostics of pathogenic organisms has focused on compact, rapid, disposable systems that manipulate samples using flexible pouches 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.
As a systems engineer at TRW and Advanced Projects Research Incorporated in the 1990s, he worked on the engineering development of products to meet specific customer requirements. Based on this interest in innovation of new products, Dr. Sterling became an advocate of applying requirements-driven engineering design to the development of biological research tools and diagnostics - the current focus of research in the Microfluidics Lab.
Current Research Projects
Microfluidics and Microfabrication (in collaboration with Ali Nadim): There is a need to miniaturize, automate and simplify nucleic acid tests, immunoassays, and other bio-molecular assays in order to achieve desired levels of specificity, sensitivity, detection speed, and long-term stability. The Microfluidics Research Lab is exploring the use of electrostatically actuated motion of sub-micro-liter 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.
Engineering of Compact, Automated Systems for Pathogen Detection (in collaboration with Ali Nadim and Angelika Niemz): Biothreat detection research at KGI is being conducted in several multi-disciplinary, multi-team efforts. With funding from DHS, NIH and DARPA, the focus of the research is on bioanalytical methods and engineering instrument/device development for nucleic acid diagnostics. KGI's projects are focused mainly on: sample preparation methods including electrical and mechanical sample lysis and nucleic acid purification components, thermally-controlled DNA amplification systems integrated with compact lateral-flow or optical fluorescence systems, and chip-based free-solution capillary electrophoresis of short oligonucleotides. The efforts primarily address the ability to detect-to-protect by diagnosing the presence of bacterial and viral pathogens in swab or air-filtered samples.
Future Research Interests
The bioengineering and microfluidics labs are looking for collaborators to develop new methods for performing nucleic-acid diagnostics in the age of personalized medicine, specifically to collaborate on innovations to provide point-of-care or point-of-use diagnostics and to provide monitoring of infectious disease to prevent nosocomial disease and prevent development of therapeutic antibiotic resistance.
Method, apparatus and article for microfluidic control via electrowetting, for chemical, biochemical and biological assays and the like.
U.S. Patent 7,163,612.
|James D. Sterling, PhD|
|Location:||Building 517, Room 105|