COSAM » COSAM Faculty » Chemistry and Biochemistry » Chris Easley

Christopher J. Easley
Chemistry and Biochemistry
C. Harry Knowles Professor

Research Areas: Analytical , Biochemistry , Clinical Lab Sciences

Office: 367 Chemistry Building

Lab: 254, 326, and 384 Chemistry Building

Phone: (334) 844-6967
Lab Phone: (334) 844-7472
E-Mail: chris.easley (at)



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

Professional Employment

Associate Editor, Analytical Methods, Royal Society of Chemistry
2017 - present

Honors and Awards

Mid-Career Achievement Award, AES Electrophoresis Society
March 2019

Research and Teaching Interests

Fast, Tiny, Bioanalytical Tools for Dynamic Studies of Endocrine Tissue Function

   The Easley laboratory is focused on the development of novel microanalytical techniques that allow us to perform unique experiments on biological systems.  Our research is focused on developing microfluidic methods and accompanying small-volume biochemical assays to study secretions from small numbers of cells in the form of intact, primary tissue.  We are interested in the consequences of cellular architecture and intercellular connections in tissue-level communication, and we study these effects using new microfluidic methods and customized small-volume (picoliter to nanoliter) assays developed by our lab members.

   Debilitating conditions such as diabetes, obesity, and metabolic syndrome are fundamentally linked to the endocrine system, and our laboratory studies two main types of endocrine tissue:  pancreatic islets and adipose tissue (fat).  Through secretion of insulin, islets have a dominant role in endocrine signaling.  Since it is now understood that adipose tissue is an active endocrine organ, we are using our custom microfluidics to capture and measure secretions from both islets and primary adipocytes at high temporal resolution. These methods are helping to improve our currently limited understanding of dynamic small-molecule and hormone secretion from the tissues, the links of secretory function to tissue-level connectivity, and the interplay between the two tissue types.

   The second major focus in our lab is to utilize DNA-antibody conjugates and DNA aptamers in cooperative sensing approaches, allowing highly sensitive and selective detection of protein and small molecule analytes from small volumes of sample and with simplified workflow.  Depending on the applicaiton, we use various readouts to accomplish the measurements, from standard fluorescence, fluorescence resonance energy transfer (FRET), custom thermofluorimetric methods (TFA), and electrochemical detection.  These unique measurements not only help with sensing on microfluidic devices, but they also are suitable for clinical readouts in human blood.

   Overall, research in our laboratory spans several scientific disciplines, from fundamental analytical chemistry, to molecular and cellular biology, and even some electrical circuit and instrument design.  Please visit our RESEARCH WEB PAGE for more details.

   Also, check out our Twitter feed @EasleyLab for our latest news and tweets.

Selected Publications

Li, X.; *Easley, C. J., Microfluidic systems for studying dynamic function of adipocytes and adipose tissue, Anal. 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.

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

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

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

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.; 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 Sphere, Anal. Chem., 2007, 79, 809.

Last updated: 06/25/2020