Stochastic electrotransport selectively enhances the transport of highly electromobile molecules

Sung Yon Kim, Jae Hun Cho, Evan Murray, Naveed Bakh, Heejin Choi, Kimberly Ohn, Luzdary Ruelas, Austin Hubbert, Meg McCue, Sara L. Vassallo, Philipp J. Keller, Kwanghun Chung

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158 Citations (Scopus)


Nondestructive chemical processing of porous samples such as fixed biological tissues typically relies on molecular diffusion. Diffusion into a porous structure is a slow process that significantly delays completion of chemical processing. Here, we present a novel electrokinetic method termed stochastic electrotransport for rapid nondestructive processing of porous samples. This method uses a rotational electric field to selectively disperse highly electromobile molecules throughout a porous sample without displacing the low-electromobility molecules that constitute the sample. Using computational models, we show that stochastic electrotransport can rapidly disperse electromobile molecules in a porous medium. We apply this method to completely clear mouse organs within 1-3 days and to stain them with nuclear dyes, proteins, and antibodies within 1 day. Our results demonstrate the potential of stochastic electrotransport to process large and dense tissue samples that were previously infeasible in time when relying on diffusion.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)E6274-E6283
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number46
Publication statusPublished - 2015 Nov 17

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank the entire K.C. laboratory for support and helpful discussions. We also acknowledge M. Z. Bazant for advice and Y. J. Lee and J. C. Lee from Live Cell Instrument for fabrication of the devices. S.-Y.K. was supported by the Simons Postdoctoral Fellowship and the Life Sciences Research Foundation. K.C. was supported by Burroughs Wellcome Fund Career Awards at the Scientific Interface, the Searle Scholars Program, the Michael J. Fox Foundation, Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, the JPB Foundation (PIIF and PNDRF), and NIH Grant 1-U01-NS090473-01. Resources that may help general users to establish the methodology are freely available online (

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General


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