Encoded microparticles have become a powerful tool for a wide array of applications, including high-throughput sample tracking and massively parallel biological multiplexing. Spectral encoding, where particles are encoded with distinct luminescence spectra, provides a particularly appealing encoding strategy because of the ease of reading codes and assay flexibility. We recently developed a microfluidic method for producing microparticles with > 1,100 spectral codes by ratiometrically embedding different amounts of lanthanide nanophosphorsn within them, which we term MRBLEs (Microspheres with Ratiometric Barcode Lanthanide Encoding). We are now applying these MRBLEs towards a wide variety of biological problems, from high-throughput and quantitative profiling of protein-peptide interactions to specific and sensitive detection of multiple bacterial species from blood for fast diagnosis of sepsis.
Polly Fordyce is an Assistant Professor of Genetics and Bioengineering and fellow of the ChEM-H Institute at Stanford, where her laboratory focuses on developing and applying new microfluidic platforms for quantitative, high-throughput biophysics and biochemistry. She graduated from the University of Colorado at Boulder with undergraduate degrees in physics and biology before moving to Stanford University, where she earned a Ph.D. in physics for work with Professor Steve Block developing instrumentation and assays for single-molecule studies of kinesin motor proteins. For her postdoctoral research, she worked with Professor Joe DeRisi to develop a new microfluidic platform for understanding how transcription factors recognize and bind their DNA targets as well as a new technology for bead-based multiplexing. She is the recipient of a number of awards, including an NIH New Innovator Award, an Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Research Fellowship, and a McCormick and Gabilan Fellowship, and was recently named a Chan Zuckerberg Biohub Investigator.