Andy Siliciano

  Master's Student

Optoporation is a technique which uses a femptosecond laser pulse to irradiate a cell membrane and create a transient, sub-micron size hole through which exogenous DNA or RNA can enter the cytoplasm. Provided that the hole is small enough, the membrane can rapidly reseal, creating a viable cell that contains the exogenous DNA or RNA. With this technique, a cell can be locally and specifically targeted to incorporate new genetic material. My work focuses on developing these techniques in vitro by characterizing parameters like laser repetition rate and laser energy, and how these parameters affect hole size, transfection rate, and cell viability. Future work will focus on transferring this technique to in vivo studies in live mice. One exciting possibility for in vivo studies is to transfect oncogenes into targeted astrocytes, inducing glioblastoma tumors. By studying the initiation and early development of cancer tumors, we can study important cell-cell interactions like chemokine signalling in the recruitment of inflammatory cells, and suggest possible therapies to mitigate tumor progression. I graduated from Cornell with a B.S. in Engineering Physics in May, 2011 and plan to graduate with my Masters of Engineering in Applied Physics in May, 2012. After graduation, I hope to continue working in biomedical research and eventually enroll in medical school. Outside of academics, I enjoy rock climbing, cycling, and skiing.

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