An Enhanced Blood Smear featuring MicroVortex Technology and Image Analysis

Friday, February 12, 2016
Vick C. Liu, Flintridge Preparatory School, La CaƱada Flintridge, CA
As the need for an accurate and complete blood analysis (including blood cell counts and cell differentiation) increases, there is a greater demand for micro devices that can perform such tasks in a portable and inexpensive format. Most of the conventional hematology analyzers are bulky and expensive (~$150k), and can only be used in clinical laboratories.

In this project, we developed a microfluidic enhanced blood smear device that can be used to concentrate and separate white blood cells (WBCs) from red blood cells (RBC) using acoustic microvortex induced by Lateral Cavity Stimulation, followed by imaging using an iPhone based microscope and automatic cell morphology recognition using a cell image analysis software. This portable device expedites blood analysis process by automating cell separation and morphology analysis. By concentrating WBCs in a small area, it takes one far less time to analyze a blood sample than the time needed on a blood smear. In addition, a method for differentiating and counting different types of blood cells using two cell image analysis programs: ImageJ and Cell Profiler, was developed. By teaching a computer how to differentiate blood cells, I created a database of cell images and increased the speed at which blood analysis occurs. With this database, the computer program can replace conventional manual cell counts and morphology analysis using microscope which suffers from low reproducibility and is prone to human error. Furthermore, I built an iPhone based microscope that can take pictures of blood cells in a microfluidic device for further analysis.