NorthenLab: Exometabolomics linking genomes with environments to understand how webs of microbes sustain biomes

Todd Duncombe


Postdoctoral Fellow at the Joint BioEnergy Institute
Joint BioEnergy Institute
5885 Hollis St, Floor 4
Emmeryville, California 94608
United States
UC Berkeley & UCSF Joint Graduate Group in Bioengineering, 2015, PhD
University of Washington, Electrical Engineering, 2010, BS
Combinatorial Assay Development

Assay development at the interface of droplet microfluidics and mass spectrometry to streamline the discovery and optimization of biomanufacturing pathways.

Array-Based Chromatography

Development of an array-based chromatography platform for high-throughput isomer screening assays.


google scholar, research gate


  1. T.A. Duncombe*, C.C. Kang*, Santanu Maity, Toby M. Ward, Mark D. Pegram, Niren Murthy, & A.E. Herr, “Hydrogel Pore-Size Modulation for Enhanced Single-Cell Western Blotting,” Advanced Materials, 2015, accepted. *co-authors
  2. T.A. Duncombe, A.M. Tentori & A.E. Herr, “Microfluidics: Reframing Biological Enquiry,” Nature Reviews Molecular and Cell Biology, 2015, 16, 554-67.
  3. Y. Pan, T.A. Duncombe, C.A. Kellenberger, M.C. Hammond, & A.E. Herr, “High-Throughput Electrophoretic Mobility Shift Assays for Quantitative Analysis of Molecular Binding Reactions”, Analytical Chemistry, 2014, 86, 10357-64.
  4. T.A. Duncombe & A.E. Herr, “Photopatterned free-standing polyacrylamide gels for microfluidic protein electrophoresis”, Lab on a Chip, 2013, 13, 2115-23.
  5. T.A. Duncombe & A.E. Herr, “Polyacrylamide gel moving boundary electrophoresis enables low-power protein analysis in a compact microdevice”, Analytical Chemistry, 2012, 84(20):8740-7.
  6. T.A. Duncombe, J.F. Parsons, & K.F Böhringer, “Directed Drop Transport Rectified from Orthogonal Vibrations via a Flat Wetting Barrier Ratchet”, Langmuir, 2012, 28, 13765-70.
  7. T.A. Duncombe*, E.Y. Erdem*, A. Shastry*, R. Baskaran & K.F Böhringer, “Controlling Liquid Drops with Texture Ratchets”, Advanced Materials, 2012, 24, 1545-50. *co-authors




  1. K.F. Böhringer, T.A. Duncombe, and J.F. Parsons, “Vibration-driven droplet transport devices having textured surfaces.” US Patent #20140144518A1.


  1. A.E. Herr, T.A. Duncombe, “Devices and Methods using Pore Size Modulation for Detecting Analytes in a Fluid Sample.” US Patent #US62/008,413.
  2. A.E. Herr, T.A. Duncombe, C.C. Kang “Producing a Separation Medium Using a Grayscale Mask.” WIPO #US2014057274.
  3. A.E. Herr, et. al., “Electrophoresis devices and methods for making and using the same.” US Patent #US2014021399.
  4. A.E. Herr, T.A. Duncombe, “Free-Standing Microfluidic Gel Electrophoresis Devices and Methods.” US Patent #US20140332383.
  5. A.E. Herr, T.A. Duncombe, “Electrophoresis devices and methods of making and using the same.” WIPO Patent #2013116772.


Conference Presentations

  1. T.A. Duncombe, C.C. Kang, T. Ward, M. Pegram, & A.E. Herr, “Single-cell targeted proteomics for deep profiling of human breast cancer signaling,” MicroTAS 2015, October 25 – 29, Gyeongju, Korea. (oral by AEH)
  2. Y. Pan, T.A Duncombe, C.A. Kellenberger, M.C. Hammond, and A.E Herr. “Mircofluidic Design Enables Low-Infrastructure Yet Large-Scale Screening of Molecular Binding Reactions. Hilton Head 2014: Solid-State Sensor, Actuator & Microsystems Workshop, June 8-12, 2014, Hilton Head, SC. (poster by YP)
  3. T.A Duncombe, K. Maurer, and A.E. Herr. “Rapid microfluidic prototyping of sophisticated protein analysis platforms using grayscale photopatterning.” IEEE MEMS 2014, San Francisco, California, January 2014. (poster)
  4. Y. Pan, T.A Duncombe, C.A. Kellenberger, M.C. Hammond, and A.E Herr. “Riboswitch screening enabled by microfluidic electrophoretic mobility shift assays (EMSAs).American institute of chemical engineer (AICHE) annual meeting, San Francisco, CA 2013. (poster by YP)
  5. T.A. Duncombe and A.E. Herr. “Photopatterned free-standing polyacrylamide gels for microfluidic protein electrophoresis.” UC Berkeley – UCSF Bioengineering Conference 2013, Tahoe City, CA. (oral)
  6. Y. Pan, T.A Duncombe, C.A. Kellenberger, M.C. Hammond, and A.E Herr. “Electrophoretic mobility shift assay enabled by microsystem.” Biomedical Engineering Society Annual Meeting 2013, September 25-28, 2013, Seattle, Washington. (oral by YP)
  7. T.A. Duncombe, T.M. Tran, F. Benito-Lopez, D. Diamond, and A.E. Herr. “Free-standing Hydrogel Microarrays for Massively Parallel Protein Electrophoresis in a Format Compatible with Batch Downstream Sample Processing” MicroTAS 2012, October 28 – November 1, 2012, Okinawa, Japan. (oral)
  8. T.A. Duncombe, T.M. Tran, F. Benito-Lopez, D. Diamond, and A.E. Herr. “Open-Channel Microfluidics: Free-standing Hydrogel Microarrays for Protein Electrophoresis.” Hilton Head 2012: Solid-State Sensor, Actuator & Microsystems Workshop, June 6-9, 2012, Hilton Head, SC. (oral)
  9. T.A. Duncombe and A.E. Herr, “From Bench to Bedside: Realizing On-Chip Electrophoretic Immunoassays for Protein Biomarkers Using a Standard 9V Battery.” 2012 AAAS Annual Meeting (February 16th – 20th, 2012), Vancouver, Canada. (poster)
  10. T.A. Duncombe, A.M. Tentori, C. Hou, & A.E. Herr, “From Bench to Bedside: Realizing on-chip electrophoretic immunoassays for protein biomarkers in serum using a standard 9V battery”, IEEE MEMS 2012, Paris, France. (poster)
  11. T.A. Duncombe, J.F. Parsons, and K.F. Böhringer. “Droplet Transport on Flat Chemically Heterogeneous Surfaces via Periodic Wetting Barriers and Vibration,” in IEEE MEMS 2010, Hong Kong, China, January 2010. (poster)
  12. T.A. Duncombe, M. Kumemura, H. Fujita, and K.F. Böhringer. “Integrating EWOD with Surface Ratchets for active droplet transport and sorting,” in IEEE MEMS 2009, Sorrento, Italy, January 2009. (poster)