Kyle grew up in Pearl City, Hawai‘i and graduated from Kamehameha Schools Kap?lama in 2014. He is a junior at Harvard studying bioengineering to pursue his goal to create automated and individualized forms of healthcare. In his free time, he volunteers at a student-led homeless shelter and serves as treasurer for the Harvard Robotics Club. He also enjoys classical music, playing clarinet, and learning Swahili.
Home Island: Pearl City, Hawai‘i
High School: Kamehameha Schools Kapalama
Institute when accepted: Harvard College
Designing a pH Control Module for a Closed Cell Culture System
Project Site: HNu Photonics LLC
Mentor: Michael Franklin
HNu-Photonics is building the Stem Cell Optical Research Platform in Orbit (SCORPIO-V) to conduct experiments in microgravity with live-cell imaging. This platform enables cell culture at a healthy pH of 7.4 using a BioChip: a custom-designed microfluidic cell culture vessel in which cells are grown and imaged. Due to the fact that a CO2 incubator cannot be used on the International Space Station (ISS), an alternate method of pH regulation must be implemented. BioChips containing cell media were imaged using a USB microscope to obtain RGB pixel values of a pH indicator dye (phenol red) over a range of typical cell culture pH values. A script in Python was created to take pictures of the BioChip, determine the pH optically, and turn on a pump to change media if necessary. Using the cell densities, cell type, and flow rate, the frequency of cell media replacements can be determined. This automation will keep cells alive and healthy for experimentation on-board the ISS.