Mohamed S. Raafat is a pre-doctoral candidate in MIT’s Department of Mechanical Engineering, where he is designing microfluidic devices, made of polymers or glass, for the sorting of biological cells according to their physical properties. The sorting and separation of cells is essential for biomedical research and diagnostics, which often require the detection and isolation of particular cell types from a fluid mixture (e.g., the separation of cancer cells from a blood specimen). But current sorting techniques tend to be costly, complex, and demanding of operator skills; moreover, only a few differentiate cells on the basis of their deformability, an important criterion for detection of such diseases as cancer and malaria. Mohammed’s research aims to surmount these obstacles by providing deformation-sensitive cell sorting that is reliable, inexpensive, and easy to use. Such technology would significantly promote diagnostics and healthcare in parts of the world where advanced laboratory facilities and skilled operators are not available.
A native of Egypt, Mohamed received Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in mechanical engineering from Cairo University. During a summer internship, he worked as a research engineer at the American University in Cairo, synthesizing and characterizing novel nano-structured materials. Mohamed enjoys reading (in English, French, or Arabic), playing the piano, and rowing with the MIT Rowing Club.