William Gaillard

Postdoctoral Appointee

Portrait of William Gaillard

Gaillard is focused on developing electroporation microchips for automated and high throughput cell transfection/transformation in both aerobic and anaerobic environments. He is also investigating novel digital microfluidic approaches for fluid transport as well as novel embedded optical sensors for microfluidic systems.


Bachelor’s Degree: Optical Engineering & Electrical Engineering, University of Alabama- Huntsville

Master’s Degree: Electrical Engineering, University of Alabama- Huntsville

Doctoral Degree: Electrical Engineering, University of Alabama- Huntsville

Postdoctoral Fellowships: Sandia National Laboratories

Gaillard’s primary graduate research effort was the development of a microfabricated glass reactor capable of synthesizing oligonucleotides. In support of that effort, he demonstrated an electronic control board for the regulation of electroosmotic flow in microfluidic devices. Gaillard developed a fabrication process for high aspect ratio glass microlenses embedded in microfluidic devices to enhance optical feedback for spectroscopy applications. Additionally, he performed extensive characterization and analysis studies of the surface chemistry of photosensitive glass and developed a chemical coating for electroosmotic flow applications in microchannels patterned in photosensitive glass.

Research Interests

Electroporation Microchips

Nanopores appear in cellular membranes upon the application of an appropriately conditioned electric field in a process known as electroporation. These nanopores allow exogenous materials to permeate cellular membranes when they would otherwise have difficulty or not be able to enter the cell. There are many examples of high throughput electroporation microfluidic devices in the literature. Many of the reported devices also include detection and separation capabilities. Still, high throughput and automatable world-to-chip interfacing is largely unaddressed. Gaillard part of a team that is investigating interfacing solutions for high throughput electroporation microchips that are suitable for both aerobic and anaerobic environments.

Digital Microfluidics

Digital microfluidic (DMF) platforms enable the transportation, mixing, dilution, storage, and analysis of discrete liquid droplets on an array of insulated electrodes. High throughput chemical synthesis and biological assays require large DMF electrode arrays; however, it is difficult to fabricate and maintain the functionality of large electrode arrays with traditional fabrication techniques. Gaillard is part of a team working on new approaches for electrode addressing and droplet sensing to expand the application space of DMF technologies from small scale demonstrations of capabilities to high throughput commercial systems.

Embedded Optics

Detection of bio-samples in microfluidic devices with fluorescence microscopy is an attractive technique due to its low detection limits, good stability, high spatial resolution, and excellent discrimination capability. However, fluorescence microscopes are large, expensive, and utilize delicate optical components. Gaillard is working on an embedded optical sensor that can be coupled with an embedded source to fully integrate a fluorescence detection system within a microfluidic substrate.

Selected Publication

  • R. Gaillard, A. Maharanwar, J. J. Weimer, J. D. Williams, “Isotherm analysis of the solution-phase uptake of chlorotrimethyl silane on a photosensitive glass”, Surfaces and Interfaces, 10, 188-196, (2018).

Selected Patent

  • Microfluidic reactors for oligonucleotide synthesis, Publication number: US 20150087820 A1, Application number: US 14/334,497