Dr. Fatih Sarioglu focuses on the interface of nano/micro-engineering and biomedicine, with a particular interest in developing technologies for unmet clinical needs.

His group, the Biomedical Microsystems Laboratory, investigates and manipulates biological systems on the micro- and nanoscale. With the use of advanced fabrication techniques, the group builds devices that use microfluidics, microelectromechanical systems (MEMS), optics, electronics, and signal processing. Through multidisciplinary collaborations, Dr. Sarioglu’s goal is for these technologies to be used as clinical microdevices for disease detection and monitoring and as bioanalytical instruments for high-throughput molecular and cellular analysis.

“We are using the techniques that people use to build microchips that power your smartphone to build small-scale devices that interface with biology at the cellular and molecular level,” said Dr. Sarioglu. “The advantage of this approach is that we can make very sensitive yet portable devices that can tell you what chemistry is going on in the body. The goal is to make these devices communicate with your smartphone so these tests can be done at home or in a mobile setting.”

Recently, the group has focused on developing a chip that can make treating metastatic cancer easier and faster. Cancer spreads via circulating tumor cells (CTCs) that travel through the blood to other organs and are nearly impossible to track. Dr. Sarioglu’s group invented a new type of chip called the Cluster-Wells that combines the precision of microfluidic chips with the efficiency of membrane filtration to find CTC clusters. By using micron-sized materials, the microfluidic chips can precisely locate each cell in a blood sample and determine if it is cancerous—potentially revolutionizing cancer treatment.

Research Goals 

  • Smart, digital microfluidic cell–based assays: Develop a low-cost, smaller alternative to microscopy that uses integrated electronics when analyzing spatially distributed cells via lab-on-a-chip devices for quantitative biomedical testing
  • Clinical microdevices for disease detection and therapy monitoring: Develop microchip-based systems for antigen-independent isolation of extremely rare CTCs from patient blood, which can potentially detect early cancer and noninvasively monitor disease progression
  • Biomolecular sensing and spectroscopy: Create highly sensitive platforms that enable diagnosis of physiological and pathological conditions from a variety of specimens with higher accuracy and minimal sample preparation requirements


  • Lab-on-a-chip devices with barcoded electronics: Developing a simple, all-electronic interface for tracking particles with microfluidic devices to create integrated, low-cost devices for cell- or particle-based assays for point-of-care tests in resource-limited environments
  • CTC Cluster Wells: Creating a microfluidic chip that isolates clusters of CTCs from unprocessed patient blood samples and building bioMEMS platforms that could improve detection, monitoring, and management of diseases like cancer, diabetes, and neurological disorders
  • Advanced lateral flow assays (LFAs) for multiplexed biomarker detection: Creating paper-based LFAs with built-in flow controllers to perform complex molecular tests (conventionally reserved for centralized laboratories) on a disposable test strip that could make infection tests that currently require a doctor visit available over the counter for self-administration


  • Department of Defense Idea Award (2019)
  • National Science Foundation CAREER Award (2018)
  • Beckman Young Investigator Award (2017)
  • Center for Integrated Systems Fellowship, Stanford University (2005–2006)
  • Edward L. Ginzton Fellowship, Stanford University (2003–2004)