Welcome

Easley Lab Images   The Easley laboratory is focused on the development of novel microanalytical techniques that allow us to perform unique experiments on biological systems.  We develop microfluidic methods and small-volume hormone assays to study secretions from small numbers of cells in the form of intact, primary tissue.  Our current studies are focused on primary adipose tissue and pancreatic islets extracted from mice.  Debilitating conditions such as diabetes, obesity, and metabolic syndrome are fundamentally linked to these tissues. 

   Specifically, our novel methods allow us to interrogate the dynamics of secretion of hormones such as insulin (from islets) and adiponectin (from adipocytes), and we are able to make these measuremetns on very small samples of tissue.  In this light, it can be said that we develop small methods to measure small amounts of hormones from small samples of tissue.  On the contrary, the results can be big, since we can extract information on the biological systems that is not possible with larger-scale, conventional methods.

   Research in our laboratory spans several scientific disciplines, from fundamental analytical chemistry to molecular and cellular biology. Please browse through our website for more detailed discussions of our research projects.

Group Members

PI  |  Graduate  |  Undergraduate  |  Postdocs  |  Former Members

GROUP PICTURE, April 2013, near Samford Hall.

Top row: Ricky Scheuerle, Xiangpeng Li, Jiaming Hu, Ferdous Torabinejad, Haley Medlen, Lauren Hoepfner, Leah Godwin, Jess Crumbley, Will Ashby, Zac Keenum,
Middle row: Amanda Kelley, Cheryl DeJournette, Chris Easley, Kennon Deal, Joonyul Kim, Jean Negou, Louis Jackson, and Mani Somasundaram.
Not pictured: Katarena Ford, Mark Holtan, Juan Hu, Gebriel Hagos, Bailey Roberts.

GROUP PICTURE, Panorama of Easley group as sets of twins!

This shows how nerdy scientists with imaging experience can take a perfectly good iPhone app and turn it into something horrifying. Pop Quiz: How did we do it?

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR  (back to top)

Christopher J. Easley, Ph.D. (email)

Knowles Associate Professor, Bioanalytical Chemistry
(Departmental Webpage)

NIH Postdoctoral Fellow, Vanderbilt Medical Center (2006-08)
Ph.D. in Analytical Chemistry, University of Virginia (2002-06)
B.S. in Chemistry, Mississippi State University (1998-2002)



GRADUATE STUDENTS  (back to top)

Jessica E. Crumbley (email)

Ph.D. Candidate, Chemistry and Biochemistry (2011-present)
B.S. in Biochemistry, Berry College (2007-2011)






Cheryl DeJournette (email)

Ph.D. Candidate, Chemistry and Biochemistry (2009-present)
Chemist I, Inorg. Unit, Alabama Dept. of Environmental Mngmt. (2008-2009)
B.S. in Chemistry, The University of Alabama at Birmingham (2004-2008)





Katarena Ford (email)

Ph.D. Candidate, Chemistry and Biochemistry (2013-present)
B.S. in Chemistry, minor in Forensic Science
Alabama State University (2009-2013)



Tesfagebriel (Gebriel) Hagos (email)

Ph.D. Candidate, Chemistry and Biochemistry (2014-present)
B.S. in pharmacy, University of
Asmara, Eritrea (2002-2007)
Graduate Teaching Assistant at Orotta School
of Medicine, Asmara, Eritrea (2009-2013)




Mark Holtan (email)

Ph.D. Candidate, Chemistry and Biochemistry (2013-present)
Research Assistant III, Covance Incorporated, Madison,WI (2007-2013)
Physical Science Technician, Chemistry Dept., USDA Agricultural Research Services, Oxford, Ms. (2005-2007)
B.S. in Applied Science, Chemistry minor, University Wisconsin - Stout (2000-2004)

Juan Hu (email)

Ph.D. Candidate, Chemistry and Biochemistry (2013-present)





Jean Negou (email)

Ph.D. Candidate, Chemistry and Biochemistry (2012-present)
B.S. in Chemistry, Jackson State University (2008-2011)



Xiangpeng Li (email)

Ph.D. Candidate, Chemistry and Biochemistry (2012-present)





Subramaniam Somasundaram (email)

Ph.D. Candidate, Chemistry and Biochemistry (2012-present)








UNDERGRADUATES  (back to top)

Bailey Roberts (email)

Biochemistry Major (2012-present)
1st year in Easley laboratory


 





POSTDOCTORAL FELLOWS  (back to top)

Joonyul Kim (email)

Postdoc, Chemistry and Biochemistry (May 2009-present)
Full-time instructor, Auburn University (2008-2009)
Postdoctoral Fellow, Dept. Biology, Emory University (2008)
Ph.D. in Plant Biochemistry, Michigan State University (2002-2008)




FORMER MEMBERS  (back to top)

Former Graduate Students:
Kennon S. Deal, Ph.D.; Postdoc at the University of Michigan
Leah A. Godwin, Ph.D.; Consulting Chemist at McSwain Engineering
Jiaming Hu, Ph.D.; BMIA Scientist at BioLegend, San Diego, CA

Former Postdocs:
William J. Ashby, Ph.D.; Teacher at ABC Montessori

Former Undergraduates:
Louis Jackson; UTenn School of Pharmacy, Memphis, TN
Lauren Hoepfner; UAB School of Medicine, Birmingham, AL
Haley Medlen; UAB School of Medicine, Birmingham, AL
Ricky Scheuerle; USF School of Medicine, Tampa, FL
Zac Keenum; UAB School of Medicine, Birmingham, AL
Amanda Kelley Robertson; Philadelphia, PA
Jasmine Naik (REU 2013); Rowan University, Glassboro, NJ
Meagan E. Pilkerton; Grad School at UW, Seattle, WA
Rebecca S. Sollie; UAB School of Medicine, Birmingham, AL
Ferdous Torabinejad Finklea; Evansville, IN
Luke J. Vincent; Miss. St. University, Starkville, MS
Terrance Weeden, M.S.; Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine

Research

Funding | Micro-Sampling | Biosensing | Droplets | Emulsions

Sampling secretions from small numbers of endocrine cells
  -Leah, Lauren  (back to top)

    There are several approaches that we utilize in order to sample secretions.  First, we have developed a passively-operated device for bulk secretion sampling (1), in which the fluidic resistances of microfluidic channels are exploited (2).   The channel cross-sectional area and length are carefully patterned to give specific fluidic resistances.  This way, murine pancreatic islets or adipocytes can be loaded upstream, and flow rates for secretion sampling can be accurately controlled with a handheld syringe by simply relying on the properties of the channels.  Bulk measurements of secretions from single islets can be made over relatively long time periods (minutes to hours), and the method is capable of high-throughput sampling from many islets, which is important due to biological variability.  Combining this sampling approach with detection by insulin ELISA or our proximity assays (below) allows us to collect the ensemble average of hundreds of islets while preserving the single-islet data such as volume or architecture assayed by confocal microscopy.
    Secondly, we have developed methods using droplet microfliudics to accurately measure temporal secretion profiles from single islets (3,4).   Picoliter volume aqueous droplets (green in video) are formed in in silicone oil (red in video) downstream of islets during glucose-stimulated insulin secretion.  The microfluidic system is ideal for minimizing dilution while preserving temporal information.  Droplets are shown to form with high monodispersity, at 0.470 nL volume (<2% relative standard deviation, n = 3257 droplets).  At high temporal resolution, pulses of zinc secretion that match periods of calcium oscillations were observed.

Cooperative sensing:  Aptamers, antibodies, and DNA 'circuits'
  -Joonyul, Jiaming, Jessica, Zac, Amanda, Ferdous  (back to top)

    We are using cooperative approaches for detection of a variety of protein and small-molecule targets.  These approaches employ dual antibody-DNA conjugates or DNA aptamers to serve as target-triggered signals in DNA-based circuits that employ enzymatic ligation (5,6) or fluorescence resonance energy transfer (FRET) (7).  To gain a more fundamental understanding of these types of assays, we have developed entirely DNA-based models to optimize signal and background ligations.  These models have allowed us to significantly improve dynamic range, sensitivity, and limits of detection for the assays (6).  Additionally, we are developing an electrochemical version of these assays, using square wave voltammetry to detect the presence of a variety of protein targets.  This approach has excellent potential for point-of-care diagnostics.  Finally, we have explored options for aptamer selection using this cooperative assembly mechanism.  We have shown that it is possible to use a known aptamer or antibody to find and enrich low abundance aptamers saturated by a large pool of random-sequence DNA.

Droplet microfluidics
  -Kennon, Louis, Zac  (back to top)

    The field of analytical chemistry has seen a significant shift of effort toward droplet microfluidics over the past five years, as researchers have begun to realize the enormous potential of generating and controlling picoliter to nanoliter volume aqueous droplets. These droplets can serve as ensembles of miniature chemical or biochemical reactors, while also leveraging the inherent benefits of analysis at the microfluidic scale. Our group has developed a secretion sampling approach using droplet fluidics (3), and our recent work has shown that aqueous droplets in oil can serve as a fluidic sample chopper (mchopper) (4).  By enabling downstream lock-in detection, this mchopper was shown to reduce the detection limit of absorbance to the nanomolar range (500 nM bromophenol blue), even over a very short 27-mm optical path.  The key functionality is the passive control of droplet order, where the device design promotes consistent alternation between sample and reference droplets (video shown here is in slow motion; droplets generated at ~10 Hz from each channel in real time). This technique is currently being applied to our cooperative FRET assays for hormone secretion sampling.

Beads and emulsions
  -Cheryl, Kennon, Haley  (back to top)

    The explosive success of next-generation sequencing approaches (8) has highlighted the power of manipulating stochastic effects with emulsions and bead-DNA conjugations.  We are currently developing methods for DNA aptamer conjugation to beads, as well as monodisperse emulsion generation with passively-operated, handheld microfluidic devices.  As seen in this image, aqueous-in-oil emulsions are monodisperse and very stable when using fluorocarbon oils and surfactants as the carrier phase, even stable enough for aqueous droplets to pack into hexagonal arrays without coelescence.  Microfluidic emulsion generation has the potential to transform many tedious and very expensive high-throughput techniques into simple, inexpensive, handheld formats for non-specialists.

References  (back to top)

(1)  Leah A. Godwin, Meagan E. Pilkerton, Kennon S. Deal, Desiree Wanders, Robert L. Judd, and Christopher J. Easley, A passively operated microfluidic device for stimulation and secretion sampling of single pancreatic islets,  Analytical Chemistry, 83, (2011) 7166–7172.
(2)  Leslie DC, Easley CJ, Seker E, Karlinsey JM, Utz M, Begley MR, Landers JP. Frequency-specific flow control in microfluidic circuits with passive elastomeric features, ure Physics, 5 (2009) 231-235.
(3)  Easley CJ, Rocheleau JV, Head WS, Piston DW. Quantitative measurement of zinc secretion from pancreatic islets with high temporal resolution using droplet-based microfluidics, Analytical Chemistry, 81 (2009) 9086-9095.
(4) Kennon S. Deal and Christopher J. Easley, A Self-Regulated, Droplet-Based Sample Chopper for Microfluidic Absorbance Detection, Analytical Chemistry, (2012) published online December 22, 2011.
(5)  Fredriksson S, Gullberg M, Jarvius J, Olsson C, Pietra K, Gustafsdottir SM, Ostman A, Landegren U. Protein detection using proximity-dependent DNA ligation assays, Nature Biotechnology, 20 (2002) 473-477.
(6)  Kim J, Hu J, Sollie RS, Easley CJ. Improvement of sensitivity and dynamic range in proximity ligation assays by asymmetric connector hybridization, Analytical Chemistry, 82 (2010) 6976-6982.
(7)  Heyduk E, Dummit B, Chang YH, Heyduk T. Molecular Pincers: Antibody-Based Homogeneous Protein Sensors, Analytical Chemistry, 80 (2008) 5152-5159.
(8)  Margulies et al. Genome sequencing in microfabricated high-density picolitre reactors, Nature, 437 (2005) 376-380.

Funding  (back to top)

NSF, National Science Foundation (CBET-1403495, CBET-1067779, CBET-1337818, DUE-1102997)
NIH, National Institutes of Health (R01 DK093810, R43 HG006078 with Lucigen)
AU-IGP, Auburn University Intramural Grants Program

Publications

Note: Full-text access requires journal subscription.

11. Leah A. Godwin, Jessica C. Brooks, Lauren D. Hoepfner, Desiree Wanders, Robert L. Judd, and Christopher J. Easley*, A Microfluidic Interface Design for the Culture and Sampling of Adiponectin from Primary Adipocytes, Analyst 2014, DOI: 10.1039/C4AN01725K. PDF

10. Jiaming Hu, Yajiao Yu, Jessica C. Brooks, Leah A. Godwin, Subramaniam Somasundaram, Ferdous Torabinejad, Joonyul Kim, Curtis Shannon*, and Christopher J. Easley*, A Reusable Electrochemical Proximity Assay for Highly Selective, Real-Time Protein Quantitation in Biological Matrices, J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2014, 136, 8467-8474. PDF

9. Cheryl J. DeJournette, Joonyul Kim, Haley Medlen, Xiangpeng Li, Luke J. Vincent, and Christopher J. Easley, Creating Biocompatible Oil-Water Interfaces without Synthesis: Direct Interactions between Primary Amines and Carboxylated Perfluorocarbon Surfactants, Anal. Chem. 2013, 85, 10556-10564. PDF

8. Leah A. Godwin, Kennon S. Deal, Lauren D. Hoepfner, Louis A. Jackson, Christopher J. Easley, Measurement of Microchannel Fluidic Resistance with a Standard Voltage Meter, Anal. Chim. Acta 2013, 758, 101-107. PDF

7. Jiaming Hu, Tanyu Wang, Joonyul Kim, Curtis Shannon*, Christopher J. Easley*, Quantitation of femtomolar protein levels via direct readout with the electrochemical proximity assay, J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2012, 134, 7066–7072. PDF

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

5. Kennon S. Deal and Christopher J. Easley, A Self-Regulated, Droplet-Based Sample Chopper for Microfluidic Absorbance Detection, Analytical Chemistry 2012, 84, 1510–1516. PDF

4. Leah A. Godwin, Meagan E. Pilkerton, Kennon S. Deal, Desiree Wanders, Robert L. Judd, and Christopher J. Easley, A passively operated microfluidic device for stimulation and secretion sampling of single pancreatic islets, Analytical Chemistry, 83 (2011) 7166–7172. PDF

3. Jiaming Hu and Christopher J. Easley, A Simple and Rapid Approach for Measurement of Dissociation Constants of DNA Aptamers against Proteins and Small Molecules via Automated Microchip Electrophoresis, Analyst, 136 (2011) 3461-3468. PDF

2. Joonyul Kim and Christopher J. Easley, Isothermal DNA Amplification in Bioanalysis: Strategies and Applications, Bioanalysis, 3 (2011) 227-239. Author's PDF, Publisher's PDF

1. Joonyul Kim, Jiaming Hu, Rebecca S. Sollie, Christopher J. Easley, Improvement of sensitivity and dynamic range in proximity ligation assays by asymmetric connector hybridization, Analytical Chemistry, 82 (2010) 6976-6982. PDF

Prior to Auburn University (back to top)

13. Christopher J. Easley, Jonathan V. Rocheleau, W. Steven Head, and David W. Piston, Quantitative measurement of zinc secretion from pancreatic islets with high temporal resolution using droplet-based microfluidics, Analytical Chemistry, 81 (2009) 9086-9095. PDF
    - Full-page Research Profile by Nancy Lamontagne

12. Daniel C. Leslie, Christopher J. Easley, Erkin Seker, James M. Karlinsey, Marcel Utz, Matthew R. Begley, and James P. Landers, Frequency-specific flow control in microfluidic circuits with passive elastomeric features, Nature Physics, 5 (2009) 231-235. PDF
    - Editors' Choice, Science, 23 (2009) 1539. PDF
    - Research Highlight, Lab on a Chip, 9 (2009) 861. PDF

11. Christopher J. Easley, Richard K. P. Benninger, Jesse H. Shaver, W. Steven Head, and David W. Piston, Rapid and inexpensive fabrication of polymeric microfluidic devices via toner transfer masking, Lab on a Chip, 9 (2009) 1119-1127. PDF
    - Research Highlight, Nature Methods, 6 (2009) 194. PDF

10. Shu Mao, Richard K. P. Benninger, Yuling Yan, Chutima Petchprayoon, David Jackson, Christopher J. Easley, David W. Piston, and Gerard Marriott, Optical lock-in detection of fluorescence resonance energy transfer using synthetic and genetically-encoded optical switches, Biophysical Journal, 94 (2008) 4515-4524. PDF

9. Christopher J. Easley, Joseph A. C. Humphrey, and James P. Landers, Thermal isolation of microchip reaction chambers for rapid non-contact DNA amplification, Journal of Micromechanics and Microengineering, 17 (2007) 1758-1766. PDF

8. Ki-Ho Han, Rachel D. McConnell, Christopher J. Easley, Joan M. Bienvenue, Jerome P. Ferrance, James P. Landers, and A. Bruno Frazier, An active microfluidic system packaging technology, Sensors and Actuators B: Chemical, 122 (2007) 337-346. PDF

7. Christopher J. Easley, James M. Karlinsey, Joan M. Bienvenue, Lindsay A. Legendre, Michael G. Roper, Sanford H. Feldman, Molly A. Hughes, Erik L. Hewlett, Tod J. Merkel, Jerome P. Ferrance, and James P. Landers, A fully-integrated microfluidic genetic analysis system with sample in-answer out capability, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA, 103 (2006) 19272-19277. PDF [Highlighted in Science as an Editor's Choice, 19 January: 315 (2007) 5810. PDF ; also in Nature Biotechnology as a Research Highlight, January: 25 (2007) 69; and in Analytical Chemistry as a Bio Sphere news article, February: 79 (2007) 809.]

6. Michael G. Roper, Christopher J. Easley, Lindsay A. Legendre, Joseph A. C. Humphrey, and James P. Landers, Infrared temperature control system for a completely noncontact polymerase chain reaction in microfluidic chips, Analytical Chemistry, 79 (2007) 1294-1300. PDF

5. Weidong Cao, Christopher J. Easley, Jerome P. Ferrance, and James P. Landers, Chitosan as a polymer for pH-induced DNA capture in a totally aqueous system, Analytical Chemistry, 78 (2006) 7222-7228. PDF

4. Christopher J. Easley, James M. Karlinsey, and James P. Landers, On-chip pressure injection for integration of infrared-mediated DNA amplification with electrophoretic separation, Lab on a Chip, 6 (2006) 601-610. [Cover Article] PDF

3. Guihua Eileen Yue, Michael G. Roper, Erin D. Jeffery, Christopher J. Easley, Catherine Balchunas, James P. Landers, and Jerome P. Ferrance, Glass microfluidic devices with thin membrane voltage junctions for electrospray mass spectrometry, Lab on a Chip, 5 (2005) 619-627. PDF

2. Christopher J. Easley, Lindsay A. Legendre, Michael G. Roper, and James P. Landers, Extrinsic Fabry-Perot interferometry for non-contact temperature control of nanoliter volume enzymatic reactions in glass microchips, Analytical Chemistry, 77 (2005) 1038-1045. PDF

1. Christopher J. Easley, Lian Ji Jin, Katja B. Presto Elgstoen, Egil Jellum, James P. Landers, and Jerome P. Ferrance, Capillary electrophoresis with laser-induced fluorescence detection for laboratory diagnosis of galactosemia, Journal of Chromatography A, 1004 (2003) 29-37. PDF

News

May 2014: Second ECPA Paper Accepted into JACS!

Jiaming's second paper describing the electrochemical proximity assay (ECPA), entitled "A Reusable Electrochemical Proximity Assay for Highly Selective, Real-Time Protein Quantitation in Biological Matrices," has been accepted for publication in the Journal of the American Chemical Society (see Publications tab). In the article (found here), we show that direct, quantitative monitoring of hormone secretion is possible in real-time from as few as 5 murine pancreatic islets, and we also report standard addition experiments in unspiked serum for direct quantitation of insulin at clinically relevant levels. This manuscript is yet another a result of a fruitful collaboration between the Easley and Shannon research groups.

May 2014: NSF grant awarded

The Easley laboratory has recently received a 3-year grant from the National Science Foundation (CBET-1403495) to support a new project entitled "Hormone-Responsive Electrodes for Quantitative Discourse with Endocrine Cells."  The grant will supply funding from July 1, 2014 until June 30, 2017. This project aims to develop hormone-responsive electrodes for quantitative communication from surfaces, through DNA circuits, and to living endocrine cells.

May 2014: Welcome to the Easley Lab!

A warm welcome goes to the latest graduate student to join our group, Tesfagebriel Hagos. Gebriel joins us from the Orotta School of Medicine in Asmara, Eritrea.

May, 2014: Farewell to our four seniors

Congratulations to Haley, Ricky, Louis, and Lauren for earning their bachelor's degrees! Three of the graduates are off to medical school (Haley and Lauren to UAB, Ricky to USF), and Louis is off to pharmacy school at Memphis. Each of the four are sure to make a big splash out in the real world!

April 21, 2014: Another award for Jess!

Congratulations to Jessica Brooks for being selected as a Dow Fellowship awardee!

March 2014: Good luck to Dr. Ashby!

Best wishes to Dr. Will Ashby at his new position! Will is now teaching at ABC Montessori school in McDonough, GA. He is off to a great start, introducing 3D printers to the students and even holding 3D printer camps. Will has also started a non-profit organization, Scibrary, to help him inject creativity back into the learning process.

March 2014: Pittcon in Chicago, IL

The Easley lab attended the 65th Annual Pittsburgh Conference on Analytical Chemistry and Applied Spectroscopy (Pittcon) from March 2-6, 2014. Our group gave two research talks and presented two posters.

February 28, 2014: Congratulations to Jess!

Jessica Brooks, a 3rd year graduate student in the lab, won second place in the scientific poster awards at the Research Day conference at Auburn. Nice work, Jess!

February 28, 2014: Research Day at Auburn

The Boshell Diabetes and Metabolic Diseases Research Program held its seventh annual Research Day at the Hotel at Auburn University and Dixon Conference Center. The Easley lab presented 1 posters. (See the brochure for more details.)

January 2014: SLAS in San Diego, CA

The Easley lab attended the 3rd Annual Meeting of the Society for Laboratory Automation and Screening (SLAS) from January 18-22, 2014. Dr. Kim presented a poster.

December 2013: Welcome to the Easley Lab!

We welcome three new first-year graduate students and one undergraduate researcher to the Easley Lab this semester. graduate students Katarena Ford, Mark Holtan, and Juan Hu have joined our research group, along with an undergraduate researcher, Bailey Roberts.

November 5, 2013: Congratulations to Dr. Deal!

The third Ph.D. defense candidate from the Easley lab met the challenge set by his peers in April. Kennon Deal successfully defended his dissertation work in early November. Again, his documents and presentations were very well received by his audience and committee members. Congrats!!

September 26, 2013: Biocompatible surfactant paper published

Cheryl DeJournette's paper, entitled "Creating Biocompatible Oil-Water Interfaces without Synthesis: Direct Interactions between Primary Amines and Carboxylated Perfluorocarbon Surfactants," (PDF) has been accepted for publication in the journal Analytical Chemistry (see Publications tab). Congratulations to Cheryl on her first lead-author publication!

September, 2013: Congratulations to Lauren!

Congratulations to Lauren Hoepfner, a senior undergraduate researcher in our lab, for being accepted on early decision into medical school at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB). Well-deserved!

August 30, 2013: NSF MRI grant for Simonian and Easley

The Simonian and Easley laboratories have recently received a Major Research Instrumentation (MRI) grant from the National Science Foundation (CBET-1337818) to support their project entitled "Development of multi-parametric/multimodal spectroscopy (MPMS) apparatus for characterization of functional interfaces." The award provides $514,358 for acquisition and further modification of an instrument that will be capable of surface plasmon resonance (SPR), electrochemical, and fluorescence based detection at functionalized interfaces used for biological sensing.

August 2013: Knowles Professorship for Dr. Easley.

Associate Professor Christopher Easley has been selected as the first C. Harry Knowles Professor in the College of Sciences and Mathematics.

June 2013: Easley Lab research featured by NSF.

Research in the Easley lab was recently highlighted by the National Science Foundation. The highlight, entitled "Measuring Hormones Drop by Drop," is hosted on the Research.gov website and is available by clicking here. Thanks go to the Shannon Group for their collaborative efforts and to the NSF for their continued support of our work!

May 2013: Congratulations, graduates!

Great job to the three graduating seniors from our group: Zac Keenum, Amanda Kelley Robertson, and Ferdous Torabinejad. You all undoubtedly have very bright futures ahead of you!

April 2013: Congratulations to Dr. Hu and Dr. Godwin!!

The first two Ph.D. defenses from the Easley lab could not have gone better. Jiaming and Leah successfully defended their dissertation work in early April. Their documents and presentations were very well received by the audience and by their committee members, and they fielded even the toughest questions with ease. For Kennon, the pressure is on to match their performances this summer! Congrats to both of you!!

April 2013: Congratulations, Zac!

We would like to congratulate Zac Keenum for being selected as one of the 2013 Dean's medalists in the College of Sciences and Mathematics (COSAM). Zac was one of just nine medalists chosen this year. Great job!

March 2013: Pittcon in Philidelphia, PA

The Easley lab attended the 64th Annual Pittsburgh Conference on Analytical Chemistry and Applied Spectroscopy (Pittcon) from March 17-21, 2013. Our group gave four research talks.

February 2013: Prof. Easley promoted and granted tenure.

Dr. Easley was recently notified of the positive decision on his promotion and tenure case. Many thanks go to his family, colleagues, and research group members who helped immeasurably over the past several years!

January 30, 2013: Auburn Intramural Grant (AU IGP) Awarded

The Easley laboratory has recently received Level 3 IGP funding from the Auburn OVPR's office to support a project entitled "Surface Dynamics of a Highly Sensitive and Versatile Protein Quantitation Method, the Electrochemical Proximity Assay (ECPA)." This funding of $200,000 over two years will support collaborative work between Dr. Easley, Dr. Curtis Shannon (AU Chem. and Biochem.), and Dr. Alex Simonian (AU Mat. Eng.).

January 2013: SLAS in Orlando, FL

The Easley lab attended the 2nd Annual Meeting of the Society for Laboratory Automation and Screening (SLAS) from January 12-16, 2013. Our group presented two posters, and Dr. Easley gave a research talk.

November 2012: Welcome to the Easley Lab!

We welcome three new first-year graduate students to the Easley Lab this semester. Xiangpeng Li, Jean Negou, and Subramaniam Somasundaram have joined our research group.

October 22, 2012: Paper accepted into Analytica Chimica Acta

Leah Godwin's paper, entitled "Measurement of Microchannel Fluidic Resistance with a Standard Voltage Meter," has been accepted for publication in Analytica Chimica Acta (see Publications tab). This manuscript, co-authored by Kennon Deal, also includes two undergraduate co-authors, Lauren Hoepfner and Louis Jackson. Nice work!

September 2012: Welcome to the Easley Lab!

We welcome three new members to the Easley Lab this semester. Will Ashby, a postdoctoral fellow, has joined us after completing his Ph.D. at Vanderbilt University. Abdul Sajib, a graduate student from the Cellular and Molecular Biosciences (CMB) program at Auburn Univeristy, is doing his first laboratory rotation in our lab this semester. Finaly, Ricky Scheuerle, an undergraduate Microbiology major, has begun research in our laboratory this fall. We are all looking forward to working with the three of you...welcome to the lab!

June 2012: NIH R01 grant awarded

The Easley laboratory has recently received an R01 research grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in the amount of $961,358. The funding for award # R01 DK093810 is provided by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) and will support our project entitled, "Interrogating Dynamics of Acute Secretion of Adiponectin Multimers from Adipose Tissue." We are carrying out this project with the help of our collaborator, Dr. Robert Judd from the Anatomy Physiology and Pharmacology Department at the Auburn University College of Veterinary Medicine.

June 2012: Welcome to the Easley Lab!

We welcome Amanda Kelley and Ferdous Torabinejad, undergraduate Biochemistry majors who have joined our group this summer.

March 27, 2012: ECPA Paper Accepted into JACS!

Jiaming and Tanyu's paper, entitled "Quantitation of femtomolar protein levels via direct readout with the electrochemical proximity assay," has been accepted for publication in the Journal of the American Chemical Society (see Publications tab). Work presented in this paper, in which insulin was detected at concentrations as low as 128 fM with a direct electrochemical readout, is a result of a fruitful collaboration between the Easley and Shannon research groups.

February 29, 2012: Happy 5th Birthday to Haley!

We wish Haley Medlen a happy birthday! This marks the first time a person with only five observed birthdays has conducted research in the Easley lab. Although Dr. Easley's son Liam has also had five birthdays, he cannot work in the lab, since he has not taken the online safety courses.

February, 2012: Graduate Student Awards!

All three fourth-year graduate students in the Easley Lab were in the news recently. Congratulations to Leah Godwin and Jiaming Hu for being selected as Dow Fellowship awardees!  Also, Kennon Deal has been nominated for the Dean's Research Award. Good luck Kennon!

January 2012: Welcome to the Easley Lab!

We welcome Louis Jackson and Haley Medlen, undergraduate researchers who have joined our group this semester.

December 22, 2011: μChopper paper published

Kennon Deal's paper, entitled "A Self-Regulated, Droplet-Based Sample Chopper for Microfluidic Absorbance Detection," (PDF) has been accepted for publication in the journal Analytical Chemistry (see Publications tab). Congratulations to Kennon on his first lead-author publication!

December 2011: Welcome to the Easley Lab!

We are happy to welcome the most recent graduate student to join the Easley group, Jessica Crumbley.

December 8, 2011: Kennon passes his prelim!

Kennon Deal is now the third Easley group member to pass his preliminary oral examination. Congratulations, Kennon! Consistent with his colleagues, he also received high complements from his committee members. Excellent work!

August 2011: Welcome to the Easley Lab!

We welcome Lauren Hoepfner, an undergraduate researcher (Molecular Biology major) who has officially joined our group this semester.

August 2011: NIH grant awarded

In collaboration with David Mead at Lucigen Corporation (Middleton, WI), the Easley laboratory has recently received a Phase I SBIR grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to support the project entitled, "Functional Selection of High Performance Enzymes."  The groups from Lucigen and Auburn will utilize microfluidic emulsion generators to select the highest performing DNA-copying enzymes from large libraries isolated from hot springs.

August 2011: Dr. Easley featured as Emerging Investigator

In this month's issue of Analyst (issue 17, 2011), Dr. Easley and a collection of his peers were featured as Emerging Investigators.  This issue also features Jiaming's article on aptamer dissociation constant measurement with microchip electrophoresis (article).

August 1, 2011: Microfluidic secretion sampling paper published

Leah Godwin's paper, entitled "A passively operated microfluidic device for stimulation and secretion sampling of single pancreatic islets," (PDF) has been accepted for publication in the journal Analytical Chemistry (see Publications tab). Congratulations to Leah on her first lead-author publication!

July 13, 2011: Jiaming passes his prelim!

Jiaming Hu is now the second Easley group student to pass his preliminary oral examination. Congratulations, Jiaming! He also received high complements from his committee members. Great work!

June 2011: NSF grants awarded

The Easley laboratory has recently received a 3-year grant from the National Science Foundation (CBET-1067779) to support the project on cooperative methods for aptamer selection and protein detection.  The grant will supply funding from July 1, 2011 until June 30, 2014.

In addition, a team of Auburn faculty that includes Dr. Shannon and Dr. Easley from the Chemistry and Biochemistry Department, in collaboration with Tuskegee University, has been awarded an NSF-MSP education grant totaling $3,866,139 (Auburn's portion: $550,000). The grant will supply funding from 2011 - 2016.

April 20, 2011: Leah passes her prelim!!

Leah Godwin has earned the right to say she is the first Easley group student to pass her preliminary oral examination. Congratulations, Leah! She received some very complementary remarks from the members of her committee, so Leah has taken a big step toward securing that Ph.D. Excellent work!

March, 2011: Our research featured on Auburn website

The Easley lab's research has been featured on the Auburn University main website.  Several photos of Dr. Easley and students in the laboratory are included, along with a video of Dr. Easley discussing the diabetes-related work conducted in his lab.  Keep up the good work, everyone!  (article)

February, 2011: Jiaming and Leah Receive COSAM Travel Awards

Jiaming Hu and Leah Godwin have been selected to receive travel awards from the College of Sciences and Mathematics to travel to Pittcon 2011.  Jiaming will present a poster, and Leah will give an oral presentation.  Congratulations, Jiaming and Leah!

December, 2010: Kd measurement paper published

Jiaming Hu's paper, entitled "A Simple and Rapid Approach for Measurement of Dissociation Constants of DNA Aptamers against Proteins and Small Molecules via Automated Microchip Electrophoresis," has been accepted for publication in Analyst (see Publications tab). Congratulations to Jiaming on his first lead-author publication!

October, 2010: Review article published

Dr. Kim's review article, entitled "Isothermal DNA Amplification in Bioanalysis: Strategies and Applications," has been accepted for publication in Bioanalysis (see Publications tab).

September, 2010: Congratulations to Rebecca...again!

Congratulations to Rebecca Sollie, a senior undergraduate researcher in our lab, for being nominated to apply for a Rhodes scholarship and a Marshall scholarship on behalf of Auburn University. In addition, Rebecca has been accepted on early decision into medical school at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB). Keep up the great work!

July 2010: Asymmetric PLA paper published

The first manuscript from the Easley laboratory, entitled "Improvement of sensitivity and dynamic range in proximity ligation assays by asymmetric connector hybridization," (PDF) has been accepted for publication in the journal Analytical Chemistry (see Publications tab).

June 2010: Welcome to the Easley Lab!

We welcome Terrance Weeden, an undergraduate researcher (senior), into the Easley laboratory this summer.

March 31, 2010: Congratulations to Rebecca, Yates Award Winner!

Congratulations to Rebecca Sollie, a junior undergraduate researcher in our lab, for being chosen to receive the Phi Kappa Phi's 2010 Susan Stacy Entrenkin Yates Scholastic Achievement Award. The Yates Award, which was established by Mr. S. Blake Yates, is a prestigious award presented annually to outstanding juniors at Auburn University. Rebecca will receive the award on April 23.

March 26, 2010: Congratulations Leah!

Leah Godwin, a 2nd year graduate student in the lab, was given the "Best Poster" award at the Research Day conference at Auburn. Nice work, Leah!

March 26, 2010: Research Day at Auburn

The Boshell Diabetes and Metabolic Diseases Research Program held its third annual Research Day at the Hotel at Auburn University and Dixon Conference Center. The Easley lab presented 3 posters, and Dr. Easley gave an oral presentation. (See the brochure for more details.)

March 2010: Pittcon 2010 in Orlando, FL

The Easley lab attended the 61st Annual Pittsburgh Conference on Analytical Chemistry and Applied Spectroscopy (Pittcon) from February 28 to March 4, 2010. We presented 3 posters, and Dr. Easley gave 2 oral presentations. Dr. Easley also organized an ACS sponsored oral session entitled "Bioanalytical Approaches to Study Cellular Communication." Many thanks to all of the speakers in this session for giving such excellent presentations on a wide variety of bioanalytical approaches.

February 2010: Congratulations Meg!

Congratulations to Meg Pilkerton, who was awarded the College of Science and Mathematics (COSAM) Junior Dean's Award. Meg will receive her award on April 12 of this year at the Chemistry and Biochemistry Awards Banquet.

January 2010: LabAutomation 2010 in Palm Springs, CA

Dr. Easley and Dr. Kim attended LabAutomation 2010 in Palm Springs, CA. Dr. Easley was selected to receive a Tony B. Travel Award, and their work on cooperative evolution of aptamers was chosen as one of the finalists in the Innovation of the Year Award.

December 2009: Welcome to the Easley Lab!

We welcome Cheryl DeJournette, a 1st year graduate student, and Zac Keenum, an undergraduate researcher (freshman), who both joined the Easley laboratory this year.

October 6, 2009: Zinc secretion paper published

A paper from Dr. Easley's postdoctoral work was recently accepted for publication by Analytical Chemistry. The article has been published online as of today (PDF).

August 2009: Welcome to the Easley Lab!

We welcome Meagan Pilkerton, an undergraduate researcher (Chemistry major) who has officially joined our group this semester.

August 6, 2009: IACUC protocol renewed

The Auburn University Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) has renewed our protocol to conduct non-survival mouse surgeries for pancreatic islet extraction. The renewal gives us two more years on this protocol.

June 4, 2009: BUA approved

A Biological Use Authority (BUA) protocol, internal to Auburn University, has been approved for our lab to conduct simple cloning experiments for our aptamer selection project.

March 20, 2009: Circuit training for fluids

A Nature Physics publication from Prof. Easley's graduate work at the University of Virginia, entitled "Frequency-specific flow control in microfluidic circuits with passive elastomeric features" (Nat. Phys., 5 (2009) 231. PDF ), was selected by the prestigious journal Science as Editors' Choice (Science, 19 (2009) 341. PDF ). The same publication was also included as a Research Highlight in the microfluidics journal, Lab on a Chip (Lab Chip, 9 (2009) 861. PDF ).

March 6, 2009: Research Day at Auburn

The Boshell Diabetes and Metabolic Diseases Research Program held its second annual Research Day at the Hotel at Auburn University and Dixon Conference Center. There were many very interesting oral and poster presentations in a broad range of topics in diabetes research. See the brochure for more details.

February 26, 2009: Microfluidics for the people

A publication from Prof. Easley's postdoctoral work at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, entitled "Rapid and inexpensive fabrication of polymeric microfluidic devices via toner transfer masking" (Lab on a Chip, 9 (2009) 861. PDF), was included as a Research Highlight in the journal Nature Methods (Nat. Methods, 6 (2009) 194. PDF), with the highlight article entitled "Microfluidics for the People."

January, 2009: Welcome to the Easley Lab!

We welcome Rebecca Sollie, an undergraduate researcher (Biomedical Sciences major) who has officially joined our group this semester. We also welcome Dr. Joonyul Kim, who will officially join our group as a postdoctoral scientist in May 2009.

November 2008: Welcome to the Easley Lab!

Welcome to the three graduate students that joined the Easley laboratory this year: Kennon Deal, Leah Godwin, and Jiaming Hu! This event marks a 300% personnel growth for our lab!

August 22, 2008: IACUC protocol approved The Auburn

University Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) has approved our protocol to conduct non-survival mouse surgeries for pancreatic islet extraction.

Teaching

Undergraduate Courses

CHEM 1040 - Fundamental Chemistry II
CHEM 3050 - Analytical Chemistry (Quantitative Analysis)
CHEM 4130 - Instrumental Analysis

Graduate Courses

CHEM 7500 - Advanced Analytical Chemistry
CHEM 7530 - Advances in Bioanalytical Chemistry

Outreach Activities

Module development and teacher training for Math and Science Partnership (MSP) with Tuskegee University (AU-MSP website, NanoBio website).

Award: DUE-1102997