High Throughput Gene Delivery Technologies for Engineered Cell Therapies

In this talk we will discuss work in our laboratory to use electric fields coupled with fluid flow in microfluidic devices to enable high throughput delivery of nucleic acids to cells. Conventional electroporation approaches for bacterial gene delivery have distinct advantages, but they are typically limited to relatively small sample volumes, reducing their utility for applications requiring high throughput such as the generation of mutant libraries. Here, we present a scalable, large-scale bacterial gene delivery approach enabled by a disposable, user-friendly microfluidic electroporation device requiring minimal fabrication. Results of this work hold exciting promise for accelerating genetic engineering of bacteria with wide ranging applications in industry and healthcare. Further, we will present recent efforts by a company spun out of the Buie Laboratory, Kytopen, which is leveraging the electroporation work to enable scalable non-viral transfection of mammalian cells. Applications of this work include engineered cell therapies such as CAR-T, which are currently plagued by high costs and manufacturing issues. The non-viral transfection approach developed by Kytopen has the potential to simplify and accelerate the development of life-saving cellular therapies.