COSAM » COSAM Faculty » Chemistry and Biochemistry » Chris Easley

Christopher J. Easley
Chemistry and Biochemistry
Knowles Associate Professor

Research Areas: Analytical

Office: 367 Chemistry Building

Phone: (334) 844-6967
E-Mail: chris.easley (at)



Vanderbilt University Medical Center, NIH Postdoctoral Fellow
University of Virginia, Ph.D.
Mississippi State University, B.S.

Research and Teaching Interests

Bioanalytical Chemistry:  Novel microanalytical tools for studying fundamentals of glucose homeostasis and diabetes.

   The Easley laboratory is focused on the development of novel microanalytical techniques that allow us to perform unique experiments on biological systems.  One major focus of our laboratory involves the development of microfluidic methods to study secretions from small numbers of cells in the form of intact, primary tissue.  We are interested in the consequences of cellular architecture in paracrine signaling within pancreatic islets of Langerhans, the functional units of insulin secretion that help to maintain blood glucose homeostasis.  Since it is now understood that adipose tissue (fat) is an active endocrine organ, we are also using microfluidics to help measure rapid secretion from primary adipocytes (fat cells). These methods should help improve our understanding of hormone secretion from adipose tissue. Debilitating conditions such as diabetes, obesity, and metabolic syndrome are fundamentally linked to these types of tissue.  The second major focus in our lab is to utilize DNA-antibody conjugates and DNA aptamers in cooperative sensing approaches, allowing picomolar detection limits of protein and small molecule analytes from small volumes of sample.  Concurrently, we are developing cooperative methods to select DNA aptamers for high affinity and specificity in target binding.

  Research in our laboratory spans several scientific disciplines, from fundamental analytical chemistry to molecular and cellular biology, conducted through combinations of novel and traditional techniques:  microfluidics, fluorescence microscopy and spectroscopy, passive flow control, molecular biology, aptamer selection, and electrophoresis.  Please visit our RESEARCH WEB PAGE for more details.

Selected Publications

Li, X.; *Easley, C. J., Microfluidic systems for studying dynamic function of adipocytes and adipose tissueAnal. Bioanal. Chem. 2018, 410, 791-800. PDF
     -  Critical Review; Invited submission to the ABC 16th Anniversary Issue

Hu, J.; *Easley, C. J., Homogeneous Assays of Second Messenger Signaling and Hormone Secretion using Thermofluorimetric Methods that Minimize Calibration Burden, Anal. Chem. 2017, 89, 8517–8523.  PDF

Negou, J. T.; Avila, L. A.; Li, X.; Hagos, T. M.; *Easley, C. J., An automated microfluidic droplet-based sample chopper for detection of small fluorescene differences using lock-in analysis, Anal. Chem. 2017, 89, 6153–6159.  PDF

Li, X.; Brooks, J. C.; Hu, J.; Ford, K. I.; *Easley, C. J., 3D-templated, fully automated microfluidic input/output multiplexer for endocrine tissue culture and secretion sampling, Lab Chip 2017, 17, 341-349.  PDF 

Brooks, J. C.; Judd, R. L.; Easley, C. J.* “Culture and Sampling of Primary Adipose Tissue in Practical Microfluidic Systems,” in Methods in Molecular Biology: Thermogenic Fat - Methods and Protocols, Humana Press/Springer (New York) 2017, in press, DOI: 10.1007/978-1-4939-6820-6_18.

Brooks, J. C.; Ford, K. I.; Holder, D. H.; Holtan, M. D.; Easley, C. J.* "Macro-to-micro interfacing to microfluidic channels using 3D-printed templates: Application to time-resolved secretion sampling of endocrine tissue," Analyst 2016, 141, 5714-5721.  PDF

Kerscher, P.; Turnbull, I. C.; Hodge, A. J.; Kim, J.; Seliktar, D.; Easley, C. J.; Costa, K. D.; Lipke, E.* "Direct Hydrogel Encapsulation of Pluripotent Stem Cells Enables Ontomimetic Differentiation and Growth of Engineered Human Heart Tissues," Biomaterials 2016, 83, 383-395.  PDF

Kim, J.; Hu, J.; Bezerra, A. B.; Holtan, M. D.; Brooks, J. C.; Easley, C. J.* "Protein Quantification using Controlled DNA Melting Transitions in Bivalent Probe Assemblies," Anal. Chem. 2015, 87, 9576–9579.  PDF

Hu, J.; Kim, J.; Easley, C. J.* "Quantifying Aptamer-Protein Binding via Thermofluorimetric Analysis," Anal. Methods 2015, 7, 7358-7362.  PDF
     -  Dr. Easley featured in "Emerging Investigators" issue (Link)

Godwin, L. A.; Brooks, J. C.; Hoepfner, L. D.; Wanders, D.; Judd, R. L.; Easley, C. J.* "A Microfluidic Interface Design for the Culture and Sampling of Adiponectin from Primary Adipocytes," Analyst 2015, 140, 1019-1025.  PDF   
     -  Selected as Cover Article
     -  Featured as Analyst Hot Article

Maynard, B. A.; Brooks, J. C.; Hardy, E. E.; Easley, C. J.; Gorden, A. E. V.*  "Synthesis, structural characterization, electronic spectroscopy, and microfluidic detection of Cu+2 and UO2+2 [di-tert-butyl-salphenazine] complexes," Dalton Trans. 2015, 44, 4428-4430.  PDF

Hu, J.; Yu, Y.; Brooks, J. C.; Godwin, L. A.; Somasundaram, S.; Torabinejad, F.; Kim, J.; Shannon, C.*; Easley, C. J.* "A Reusable Electrochemical Proximity Assay for Highly Selective, Real-Time Protein Quantitation in Biological Matrices," J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2014, 136, 8467-8474. PDF

DeJournette, C. J.; Kim, J.; Medlen, H.; Li, X.; Vincent, L. J.; Easley, C. J. "Creating Biocompatible Oil-Water Interfaces without Synthesis: Direct Interactions between Primary Amines and Carboxylated Perfluorocarbon Surfactants." Anal. Chem. 2013, 85, 10556-10564.  PDF

Godwin, L. A.; Deal, K. S.; Hoepfner, L. D.; Jackson, L. C.; Easley, C. J. "Measurement of Microchannel Fluidic Resistance with a Standard Voltage Meter." Anal. Chim. Acta 2013, 758, 101-107.  PDF

Hu, J.; Wang, T.; Kim, J.; Shannon, C.; Easley, C. J. "Quantitation of femtomolar protein levels via direct readout with the electrochemical proximity assay." J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2012, 134, 7066–7072.  PDF

Horn, D. W.; Tracy, K. P.; Easley, C. J.; Davis, V. A. "Lysozyme Dispersed Single-Walled Carbon Nanotubes: Interaction and Activity." J. Phys. Chem. C 2012, 116, 10341–10348.  PDF

Deal, K. S. and Easley, C. J. "Self-Regulated, Droplet-Based Sample Chopper for Microfluidic Absorbance Detection." Analytical Chemistry 201284, 1510–1516.  PDF

Godwin, L. A.; Pilkerton, M. E.; Deal, K. S.; Wanders, D.; Judd, R. L.; Easley, C. J. "A passively operated microfluidic device for stimulation and secretion sampling of single pancreatic islets." Analytical Chemistry,2011, 83, 7166–7172.  PDF

Hu, J. and Easley, C. J. "A Simple and Rapid Approach for Measurement of Dissociation Constants of DNA Aptamers against Proteins and Small Molecules via Automated Microchip Electrophoresis." Analyst2011, 136, 3461-3468.  PDF

Kim, J. and Easley, C. J. "Isothermal DNA Amplification in Bioanalysis:  Strategies and Applications."Bioanalysis2011, 3, 227-239. Author's PDFPublisher's PDF

Kim, J.; Hu, J.; Sollie, R. S.; Easley, C. J. "Improvement of sensitivity and dynamic range in proximity ligation assays by asymmetric connector hybridization." Analytical Chemistry2010, 82, 6976-6982.  PDF

Easley, C. J.; Rocheleau, J. V.; Head, W. S.; Piston, D. W. “Quantitative measurement of zinc secretion from single pancreatic islets with high temporal resolution using droplet-based microfluidics.” Analytical Chemistry2009, 81, 9086. PDF
     -  Full-page Research Profile by Nancy Lamontagne

Leslie, D. C; Easley, C. J.; Seker, E.; Karlinsey, J. M.; Utz, M.; Begley, M. R.; Landers, J. P. “Frequency-specific flow control in microfluidic circuits with passive elastomeric features.” Nature Physics, 2009, 5, 231.  PDF
     -  Editors' Choice, Science, 2009, 23, 1539.  PDF
     -  Research Highlight, Lab on a Chip, 2009, 9, 861.  PDF

Easley, C. J.; Benninger, R. K. P.; Shaver, J. H.; Head, W. S.; Piston, D. W. “Rapid and inexpensive fabrication of polymeric microfluidic devices via toner transfer masking.” Lab on a Chip, 2009, 9, 1119-1127.  PDF
     -  Research Highlight, Nature Methods, 2009, 6, 194.  PDF

Mao, S.; Benninger, R. K. P.; Jackson, D.; Yan, Y.; Petchprayoon, C.; Jackson, D. K.; Easley, C. J.; Piston, D. W.; Marriott, G. “Optical lock-in detection of fluorescence resonance energy transfer using synthetic and genetically-encoded optical switches.” Biophysical Journal200894, 4515-4524.  PDF

Easley, C. J.; Karlinsey, J. M.; Bienvenue, J. P.; Legendre, L. A.; Roper, M. G.; Feldman, S. H.; Hughes, M. A.; Hewlett, E. L.; Merkel, T. J.; Ferrance, J. P.; Landers, J. P. “A fully-integrated microfluidic genetic analysis system with sample in-answer out capability.” Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA, 2006, 103, 19272-19277.  PDF
     -  Editors' ChoiceScience, 2007, 315, 5810.
     -  Research HighlightNature Biotechnology, 2007, 25, 69.
     -  Bio SphereAnalytical Chemistry, 2007, 79, 809.

Last updated: 07/20/2018