Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department

Electrical Engineering

Major Professor

Shekhar Bhansali

Co-Major Professor

Andrew Hoff


cancer cells, ECIS, microelectrode, microfluidics, spectroscopy


This research focuses on the detection and characterization of cells using

impedance-based techniques to understand the behavior and response of cells to internal/environmental changes. In combination with impedimetric sensing techniques, the biosensors in this work allow rapid, label-free, quantitative measurements and are very sensitive to changes in environment and cell morphology. The biosensor design and measurement setup is optimized to detect and differentiate cancer cells and healthy (normal) cells. The outcome of this work will provide a foundation for enhanced 3-dimensional tumor analysis and characterization; thus creating an avenue for earlier cancer detection and reduced healthcare costs.

The magnitude of cancer-related deaths is a result of late-diagnosis and the fact that cancer is challenging to treat, due to the non-uniform nature of the tumor. In order to characterize and treat individual cells based on their malignant potential, it is important to have a measurement technique with enhanced spatial resolution and increased sensitivity. This requires the study of individual or small groups of cells that make up the entire tissue mass.

The overall objective of this research is to optimize a microelectrode biosensor and obtain statistically relevant data from a cell culture using an independent multi-electrode design. This would provide a means to explore the feasibility of electrically characterizing cells with greater accuracy and enhanced sensitivity.