Dr He Liang

He Liang

Post-doctoral researcher

He Liang worked as a PDRA in the research group of Prof Paunov from August 2014-July 2015. He was co-supervised by Dr Leigh Madden (Dept. of Biological Sciences) in collaboration with Dr David Allsup (Castle Hill Hospital, Cottingham)  

Supervisors: Prof. Vesselin N. Paunov (PI), Dr Leigh Madden (Co-PI)

Research project 1:

Bioimprinting of Blood Cancer Cells

Acute myeloid leukaemia (AML) is characterised by an accumulation of myeloblasts in the blood and bone marrow. Biomprinting technology has been recently developed to capture proteins, viruses and entire living cells via their structural and chemical information. Bioimprinting techniques can permanently capture an impression of biological samples into polymer surfaces with promising approaches for early cancer diagnosis [1], developing selective antimicrobial therapies and formulations [2,3]. Prof Paunov and Dr Madden recently developed novel technology which uses colloidal cell imprints that can bind to the surface of cells of specific shape morphology and deliver biocides directly to the cell surface. We develop a novel in-vitro approach for the removal of myeloblasts from peripheral blood samples utilizing a cell shape recognition technology. Due to size and shape differences between myeloblasts and normal white blood cells, myeloblasts represent an ideal target for bioimprinting.

We introduce the bioimprinting technology to replicate myeloblasts (ATCC) based on their surface information. Monolayers of fixed myeloblast cells were prepared by immobilisation on a polyelectrolyte pre-treated glass slides and partially embedded in a protective film. Curable polymer (PDMS) was used to the imprint the exposed part of the cell monolayer and was peeled off after curing. In this talk we will present the results of our myeloblast cell recognition experiments as a function of the cell concentration and surface coatings of the produced cell imprints. The results indicate that the cell imprinting technology can be used to capture the cells based on their shape and size. We demonstrate the selectivity of the cell imprints in retention of the cells of matching shape in a mixture with other cells. This technology is expected to find application in AML cell separation devices.

Cell recognition1

Cell recognition2

Fig. 1 Optical (TOP) and Fluorescence Microscope (BOTTOM) images of myeloblast cells captured by a plastic bioimprint.


  1. Ren K, Banaei N, and Zare R.N. Sorting Inactivated Cells Using Cell-Imprinted Polymer Thin Films. ACS Nano20137 (7), 6031-6036.
  2. Borovička JStoyanov SDPaunov, V.N. Shape recognition of microbial cells by colloidal cell imprints. Nanoscale 2013 5 (18), 8560-8568.
  3. Borovicka, J., Metheringham, J., Madden, L.A., Walton C.D., Stoyanov, S.D., Paunov, V.N., “Photothermal colloid antibodies for shape-selective recognition and killing of microorganisms.”, J. Am. Chem. Soc., 135 (2013), 5282-5285. [Highlighted by ACS Press]