Bioanalytical sensors for real world applications- themed collection open for submissions

 

Analytical Methods has launched a themed collection focusing on bioanalytical sensors for real world applications.

This collection aims to publish papers in which sensors have been used to measure analytes in complex matrices, using robust technologies and with high sensitivity and specificity. The scope of this collection is intentionally broad to cover a broad range of applications both biomedical and environmental. Work which describes challenges in sensing of complex analytes or sensing analytes in complex matrices and how these challenges have been overcome is particularly welcome.

 

 

 

Guest Editors 

This collection is co-guest edited by Assistant Professor Charlie Mace (Tufts University, USA), Dr Aoife Morrin (Dublin City University, Ireland) and Associate Professor Rebecca Whelan (University of Notre Dame, USA).

Charlie Mace                                                  Aoife Morrin                                                     Rebecca Whelan

 

Submission deadline: 31st December 2019

 

Contribute to this collection

We welcome submissions of original research and review articles. Articles will be added to the collection as they are accepted and the resulting issue will benefit from extensive promotion.

About Analytical Methods

Guided by Editor-in-Chief Scott Martin and an international team of Associate Editors and Editorial Board members, Analytical Methods welcomes early applications of new analytical methods and technology demonstrating potential for societal impact. The journal requires that methods and technology reported in the journal are sufficiently innovative, robust, accurate, and compared to other available methods for the intended application. Developments with interdisciplinary approaches are particularly welcome. Systems should be proven with suitably complex and analytically challenging samples. For more information about the journal or its scope, please visit the journal website.

 

Interested in contributing?

Email methods-rsc@rsc.org

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Analytical Methods revised scope description

The scope of Analytical Methods has been revised to highlight that the journal welcomes early applications of new analytical methods and technology demonstrating potential for societal impact.

“Analytical Methods requires that methods and technology reported in the journal are sufficiently innovative, robust, accurate, and compared to other available methods for the intended application. Developments with interdisciplinary approaches are particularly welcome. Systems should be proven with suitably complex and analytically challenging samples.

We encourage developments within, but not limited to, the following technologies and applications:

  • global health, point-of-care and molecular diagnostics
  • biosensors and bioengineering
  • drug development and pharmaceutical analysis
  • applied microfluidics and nanotechnology
  • omics studies, such as proteomics, metabolomics or glycomics
  • environmental, agricultural and food science
  • neuroscience
  • biochemical and clinical analysis
  • forensic analysis
  • industrial process and method development”

The updates relate to the need for systems to be proven with suitably complex and analytically challenging samples and we also highlight some of the technologies and applications that the journal is interested in.

A final update is that the previous requirement for a societal impact statement has now been removed and this will be replaced by a requirement for a short (1-2 sentences long) significance statement for authors to highlight the technological advance and/or significance of the methods and applications in each submitted manuscript.

Any queries regarding these changes should be directed to the Analytical Methods Editorial Office at methods-rsc@rsc.org. 

Submit your next manuscript to Analytical Methods!

 

 

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Top 10 most downloaded Analytical Methods articles from April – June 2019

Check out these recent Analytical Methods articles, which were the most downloaded between April and June 2019.

The articles have all been made free to read for the next month. Let us know what you think of them, either in the comments below or on twitter @methodsrsc!

 

Reviews

Carbon quantum dots: synthesis, properties, and sensing applications as a potential clinical analytical method

Saipeng Huang, Wenshuai Liu, Pu Hahn, Xin Zhou, Jiewei Cheng, Huiyun Wen and Weiming Xue

Anal. Methods, 2019,11, 2240-2258

DOI: 10.1039/C9AY00068B

 

Methods for the detection of reactive oxygen species

Yinfeng Zhang, Menghong Dai and Zonghui Yuan

Anal. Methods, 2018,10, 4625-4638

DOI: 10.1039/C8AY01339J

 

Communications

Emerging patterns in the global distribution of dissolved organic matter fluorescence

Anal. Methods, 2019,11, 888-893

DOI: 10.1039/C8AY02422G

 

Papers

A methodology for the fast identification and monitoring of microplastics in environmental samples using random decision forest classifiers

Benedikt Hufnagl, Dieter Steiner, Elisabeth Renner, Martin G. J. Lӧder, Christian Laforsch and Hans Lohninger

Anal. Methods, 2019,11, 2277-2285

DOI: 10.1039/C9AY00252A

 

Analytical determination of heroin, fentanyl and fentalogues using high-performance liquid chromatography with diode array and amperometric detection

Hadil M. Elbardisy, Christopher W. Foster, Loanda Cumba, Lysbeth H. Antonides, Nicolas Gilbert, Christopher J. Schofield, Tarek S. Belal, Wael Talaat, Oliver B. Sutcliffe, Hoda G. Daabees and Craig E. Banks

Anal. Methods, 2019,11, 1053-1063

DOI: 10.1039/C9AY00009G

 

Chemical analysis using 3D printed glass microfluidics

Eran Gal-Or, Yaniv Gershoni, Gianmario Scotti, Sofia M. E. Nilsson, Jukka Saarinen, Ville Jokinen, Clare J. Strachan, Gustav Boije af Gennäs, Jari Yli-Kauhaluoma and Tapio Kotiaho

Anal. Methods, 2019,11, 1802-1810

DOI: 10.1039/C8AY01934G

 

Using castor oil to separate microplastics from four different environmental matrices

Thomas Mani, Stefan Frehland, Andreas Kalberer and Patricia Burkhardt-Holm

Anal. Methods, 2019,11, 1788-1794

DOI: 10.1039/C8AY02559B

 

A switch-on fluorophore using water molecules via hydrogen bonding and its application for bio-imaging of formaldehyde in living cells

Yile Wang, Yifan Chen, Yan Huang, Qi Zhang, Yucang Zhang, Jianwei Li and Chunman Jia

Anal. Methods, 2019,11, 2311-2319

DOI: 10.1039/C9AY00281B

 

Technical Briefs

The correlation between regression coefficients: combined significance testing for calibration and quantitation of bias

Analytical Methods Committee

Anal. Methods, 2019,11, 1845-1848

DOI: 10.1039/C9AY90041A

 

Why do we need the uncertainty factor?

Analytical Methods Committee

Anal. Methods, 2019,11, 2105-2107

DOI: 10.1039/C9AY90050K

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Emerging Investigators Series – Meng Liu

We are delighted to introduce our latest Analytical Methods Emerging Investigator, Meng Liu!

Meng Liu obtained a Ph.D. in Environmental Engineering from Dalian University of Technology in 2012. He was a postdoctoral fellow co-supervised by Dr. Yingfu Li and Dr. John Brennan at McMaster University between 2013 and 2017. He is now a Professor in the School of Environmental Science and Technology at the Dalian University of Technology. His research interests include functional DNAs and paper-based analytical devices.

Read Meng’s Emerging Investigator Series paper “Graphene oxide-circular aptamer based colorimetric protein detection on bioactive paper” and find out more about him in the interview below.

 

 

 

 

 

Your recent Emerging Investigator Series paper focuses on graphene oxide-circular aptamer based colorimetric protein detection on bioactive paper. How has your research evolved from your first article to this most recent article?

Previously, we report on the first effort to select circular aptamers for proteins (Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2019, 58, 8013). However, a great challenge that remains is how to design a biosensing platform that are highly compatible with this circular aptamer and broadly applicable for wide ranging targets.

 

What aspect of your work are you most excited about at the moment?

The circular aptamer can help us to improve the specificity of the sensor.

 

In your opinion, what are the key design considerations for developing a graphene oxide-circular aptamer based assay for colorimetric protein detection on bioactive paper?

The sequence of the circular aptamer should be carefully designed.

 

What do you find most challenging about your research?

How to turn data into knowledge and product.

 

How do you spend your spare time?

Reading and sporting.

 

Which profession would you choose if you were not a scientist?

Doctor.

 

Can you share one piece of career-related advice or wisdom with other early career scientists?

The question mark is the key to any science.

 

If you’d like to read other papers in the Emerging Investigators Series, please visit our website.

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New themed collection: Electrochemistry for health applications

We are delighted to draw your attention to the recent Analytical Methods themed collection highlighting work on electrochemistry for health applications. This collection focuses electrochemical sensing, biosensing and applications in diagnostics and monitoring, and neuroelectrochemistry. 

This collection was put together by Guest Editors Jill Venton (University of Virginia, USA), Craig Banks (Manchester Metropolitan University, UK) and Tony Killard (University of West England, UK), who worked hard to create this issue and ensure that its content was of the highest quality. An Editorial by the Guest Editors prefaces the collection.

Read the full collection now: https://rsc.li/electrochem-for-health

All papers in the collection are free to access until the end of July 2019 with an RSC Publishing Account.

We hope you enjoy reading the full collection. Take a look at a small selection of excellent articles featured in the collection below:

Critical Review
Susana Campuzano, María Pedrero, Araceli González-Cortés, Paloma Yáñez-Sedeño and José M. Pingarrón

Critical Review
Yangguang Ou, Anna Marie Buchanan, Colby E. Witt and Parastoo Hashemi

Minireview
Nianzu Liu, Zhenying Xu, Aoife Morrin and Xiliang Luo

Paper
Jimin Yang, Xuesong Yin and Wei Zhang

Paper
Ling Li, Wuhua Guo, Yao Lin, Dianping Tang and Jingfeng Liu

Paper
Joseph M. Siegel, Kelci M. Schilly, Manjula B. Wijesinghe, Giuseppe Caruso, Claudia G. Fresta and Susan M. Lunte

Guest Editors (left to right): Craig Banks, Tony Killard and Jill Venton

Keep up to date with Analytical Methods throughout the year by signing up for free table of contents alerts and monthly e-newsletters.
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Emerging Investigators Series – Alexander Zestos

We are delighted to introduce our latest Analytical Methods Emerging Investigator, Alexander Zestos!

Alexander Zestos is a Greek-American from Williamsburg, VA. He completed a BS/MS degree in Chemistry from the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, VA in 2008. There, he performed research with Dr. William H. Starnes, Jr. on the use of metal-clay additives and ester thiols to promote the smoke suppression, fire retrardance, and thermal stability of poly(vinyl chloride). He completed his PhD in Chemistry in 2014 at the University of Virginia, where he worked with Dr. Jill Venton and investigated the use of alternative carbon nanomaterials for enhanced neurochemical detection using fast scan cyclic voltammetry. From 2014-2017, he was a postdoctoral research fellow in the Departments of Chemistry and Pharmacology at the University of Michigan and was co-mentored by Professors Robert T. Kennedy and Margaret E. Gnegy. There, he developed microdialysis and liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry assays to measure neurochemical dynamics in rats after the administration of amphetamine and cocaine. He also developed the use of protein kinase C (PKC) inhibitors as novel therapeutics for amphetamine abuse in addition to measuring acetylcholine release from beige fat adipocytes and the neurochemical biomarkers of epileptic seizures. Since 2017, he is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Chemistry and Center for Behavioral Neuroscience at American University in Washington, D.C., where he develops electrochemical methods and electrode materials to enhance neurotransmitter detection for a wide variety of applications.

Read Alexander’s Emerging Investigator series paper “Polymer modified carbon fiber-microelectrodes and waveform modifications enhance neurotransmitter metabolite detection” and find out more about him in the interview below:

Your recent Emerging Investigator Series paper focuses on carbon-fiber microelectrodes and waveform modifications for the detection of neurotransmitter metabolites. How has your research evolved from your first article to this most recent article?
My research has evolved greatly over time. As a BS/MS student at the College of William and Mary, I investigated the development of smoke suppressants, fire retardants, and thermal stabilizers for poly(vinyl chloride). As a PhD student at the University of Virginia, I became more interested in research that could be used for biomedical applications. I utilized alternative carbon nanomaterials as electrodes for enhanced neurochemical detection with fast scan cyclic voltammetry (FSCV). As a postdoctoral research fellow in the Departments of Chemistry and Pharmacology at the University of Michigan, I used in vivo microdialysis coupled with liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) to detect multiple neurotransmitters in vivo and measure the effects of PKC inhibitors on amphetamine-stimulated dopamine efflux. We were able to measure over 30 neurochemicals simultaneously in freely behaving animals, which had many applications for studying drugs of abuse, obesity, and epilepsy. At American University, I am combining the use of voltammetry, HPLC, and other methods to enhance neurochemical detection that is applicable to studying the effects of many drugs and behavioural states.

What aspect of your work are you most excited about at the moment?
I am excited by many projects. Currently, we are developing methods of neurochemical enhancement with carbon fiber-microelectrodes to study neurochemical dynamics in diabetic zebrafish and the effect of cathinone bath salts in rats. Moreover, we are also using carbon nanomaterials such as carbon nanotube yarns and polymer coatings to enhance neurochemical sensitivity, temporal resolution, and promote anti-fouling properties. My research continues to be at the interface of materials science, analytical measurements, and biomedical applications.

In your opinion, what are the key design considerations for developing novel electrode materials and waveforms for the detection of biomolecules?
The key design considerations for developing novel electrode materials and waveforms are to tune the electrode material selectively to each respective analyte. For this paper, we applied positively charged polymer coatings and removed the negative holding potential in order to enhance DOPAC detection, which is negatively charged at a physiological pH. The detection of other analytes such as dopamine, serotonin, norepinephrine, and others can be enhanced with other coatings and waveform modifications that are specific to each neurotransmitter being detected taking into account size, charge, chemical structure, and other considerations.

What do you find most challenging about your research?
In my opinion, the most challenging part of my research is continuous trial and error and overall complexity. However, this can also be the most rewarding aspect of research when an unexpected discovery is made. Reproducibility is also key in making and testing microelectrodes to measure neurochemical dynamics in small brain regions.

How do you spend your spare time?
I enjoy the outdoors, sports, traveling, and spending time with my family.

Which profession would you choose if you were not a scientist?
I most likely would be a physician or diplomat. I always considered myself to by a people-person and enjoy traveling, which is a big part of being a scientist.

Can you share one piece of career-related advice or wisdom with other early career scientists?
I would recommend pursuing your passion, yet being able to adapt to new circumstances, and to be continually persistent in your work. There will always be ups and downs in your research, but it is important to remain focused on the long-term goals of your career.

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Outstanding Reviewers for Analytical Methods in 2018

We would like to highlight the Outstanding Reviewers for Analytical Methods in 2018, as selected by the editorial team, for their significant contribution to the journal. The reviewers have been chosen based on the number, timeliness and quality of the reports completed over the last 12 months.

We would like to say a big thank you to those individuals listed here as well as to all of the reviewers that have supported the journal. Each Outstanding Reviewer will receive a certificate to give recognition for their significant contribution.

Dr Prashanth Adarakatti, P. C. Jabin Science College ORCiD: 0000-0002-9049-4862

Dr Liu Dingbin, Nankai University ORCiD: 0000-0003-4153-9822

Professor Qiong Jia, Jilin University ORCiD: 0000-0002-0020-4180

Dr Edward Randviir, MMU ORCiD: 0000-0001-7252-8494

Dr Xueguang Shao, Nankai University ORCiD: 0000-0001-5027-4382

We would also like to thank the Analytical Methods board and the analytical chemistry community for their continued support of the journal, as authors, reviewers and readers.

 

If you would like to become a reviewer for our journal, just email us with details of your research interests and an up-to-date CV or résumé.  You can find more details in our author and reviewer resource centre

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Emerging Investigator Series – Charles Mace

We are delighted to introduce our latest Analytical Methods Emerging Investigator, Charles Mace!

Dr Charles Mace earned his BS from Le Moyne College in 2003, followed by an MS (2006) and PhD (2008) from the University of Rochester in the laboratory of Prof. Benjamin Miller. He was then a postdoctoral scholar in the laboratory of Prof. George Whitesides at Harvard University from 2008–2011. Prior to joining the faculty at Tufts in 2013, he was a senior scientist at Diagnostics For All. Charlie is the Vice Chair for the upcoming 2020 Gordon Research Conference on Bioanalytical Sensors.

 

Read Charles’s Emerging Investigator series paper “Determination of sample stability for whole blood parameters using formal experimental design” and find out more about him in the interview below:

 

 

 

Your recent Emerging Investigator Series paper focuses on determination of sample stability for whole blood parameters. How has your research evolved from your first article to this most recent article?
Whether you’re asking about my first article as a graduate student or as PI, I have been fortunate to have a consistent scientific narrative in my career—creating technologies that can lead to improved access to healthcare. In graduate school at the University of Rochester, I developed a label-free, optical biosensor platform that I was applying to, among other things, characterizing the immune response to flu infections to help create improved vaccines. My first article on that technology described a sensor to detect pathogenic E. coli. In comparison to what my lab at Tufts University works on now (paper-based microfluidic devices), it was all very high tech. My first independent article described a new paper-based device architecture that could be used to perform immunoassays. It can be thought of as being analogous to a lateral flow test, but something that could be integrated more readily into the kinds of point-of-care hematology devices that we are pursuing. Some of that work is seen in this article.

What aspect of your work are you most excited about at the moment?
Can I say everything? I’m like a kid in a candy store when it comes to the research that is going on in our lab right now. We have projects related to point-of-care diagnostics, tissue engineering, materials science, and more. We are very collaborative with groups at Tufts and other universities and institutions, and we like being able to bring our expertise to many different areas of research. Being able to jump back and forth between these projects (and support and mentor the students leading these efforts) keeps my enthusiasm level high on a day-to-day basis. Ultimately, it is a major goal of my independent career to develop something “real” — an assay or device that other people can actually use. I think that we are close to that goal on multiple fronts.

In your opinion, what are the key design considerations for developing diagnostic assays for biological parameters?
We like to start with the end goal in mind: what does the user need? This answer is partly related to typical parameters like the desired sensitivity and specificity of the assay, but includes a number of other concerns too. Costs are always an obvious issue when the assay is intended for use in limited-resource settings. While we try to be as economical as possible, academics are actually really bad at estimating what the price of a test will be from the costs required to develop them. A consideration that we have been really focusing on lately is how devices will be used. For example, we try to understand how to increase the capabilities of our devices to make them easier to use and minimize the number of steps a user will need to perform to conduct the test. Not only are those concerns practical and driven by conversations with potential users, but they also end up generating interesting research ideas.

What do you find most challenging about your research?
Blood is deceptively difficult to handle and analyze, which is unlike other biofluids that I have studied in the past like serum, oral fluid, or urine. Blood is a dynamic, living sample whose properties change over time. Understanding these challenges and identifying strategies to effectively account for them are the first steps to developing assays or devices to analyze blood. Particularly with our goals to create point-of-care hematology tests, like with our paper-based hematocrit assay, having a sample that was varying over time could influence how we interpret results and make experimental decisions. Since we need large volumes of blood to develop tests, we mainly rely on local vendors to supply our blood. It’s very fresh, but not “fingerstick” fresh. We would require many many fingers to support our work! Honestly, that was the genesis of this manuscript. Lara (the first author on this paper) identified a problem that could affect her research objectives, devised a plan to understand the variables leading to instability of her blood samples, and demonstrated their impact in a clear way. These are challenges worth solving because the impact of this kind of point-of-care device could be felt worldwide. We have to get a lot of things right at this stage of the research.

How do you spend your spare time?
These days, my main hobbies are chasing around my toddler, teaching him proper animal noises (he’s nailed bear and whale, but can’t quite get sheep), and going to swim class with him. In our quieter moments at night, my wife and I really enjoy cooking together. Sometimes, we will even make competitions out of it by limiting ingredients or forcing together certain combinations of ingredients. It’s a different way of being creative, lets us try new foods, and it helps us share a common passion. Watching reruns of The Office (American version!) for the fifth time is also a common passion.

Which profession would you choose if you were not a scientist?
I actually started college with the goal of becoming a high school history teacher. Even though those plans changed really quickly, teaching and communicating have always been passions of mine. That being said, I would probably start a microbrewery with my wife that made great IPAs and tater tots.

Can you share one piece of career-related advice or wisdom with other early career scientists?
I love this job and it is ultimately very rewarding, but it can be difficult, overwhelming, and potentially even lonely at times. That is particularly true when you are just starting out and trying to find your voice. Surround yourself with colleagues and mentors that can provide support and guidance. And remember to willingly offer that support to others! You don’t need to go through it alone just to prove your ‘independence’. This is just as true for graduate students as it is seasoned PIs.

 

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New Analytical Methods Associate Editors: Chao Lu and Zhen Liu

We are delighted to announce two new appointments to the Analytical Methods Editorial Board. Professor Chao Lu and Professor Zhen Liu have both recently started as Associate Editors.


Chao Lu is currently a Full Professor of State Key Laboratory of Chemical Resource Engineering, Beijing University of Chemical Technology. He received his Ph.D. degree in Analytical Chemistry from Chinese Academy of Sciences in 2004. He has been a visiting scholar in Kanazawa University from 2004 to 2005, Hong Kong University from 2005 to 2007, and University of Texas at Arlington from 2007 to 2009. He holds 15 patents, and has published more than 100 peer reviewed articles. His current research interests include the synthesis and characterization of advanced functional nanomaterials for chemiluminescence, electrochemiluminescence, fluoresecence, biosensors, and bioimaging.

Read Chao Lu’s most recent Analytical Methods articles below:

Hydroxyl radical induced chemiluminescence of hyperbranched polyethyleneimine protected silver nanoclusters and its application in tea polyphenols detection

DOI: 10.1039/C7AY00903H

Anal. Methods, 2017, 9, 3114-3120

Silver nanoclusters as fluorescent nanosensors for selective and sensitive nitrite detection

DOI: 10.1039/C6AY00214E

Anal. Methods, 2016, 8, 2628-2633


Zhen Liu is Distinguished Professor at Nanjing University, China. He obtained his PhD from Dalian Institute of Chemical Physics, Academy of Sciences of China in 1998. After post-doctoral training at Hyogo University (former Himeji Institute of Technology) in Japan as a JPSP scholar (2000-2002) and at the University of Waterloo in Canada (2002-2005), he joined Nanjing University as a Full Professor in 2005. He was appointed as Adjunct Professor at the University of Waterloo (2011-2014). He was awarded the National Science Fund for Distinguished Young Scholars (2014). His research interests include separation science, affinity materials, molecular imprinting, bioassays, single cell analysis, hyphenated analytical approaches, and nanomaterials for cancer therapy. He is particularly interested in integrating multidisciplinary knowledge, expertise and skills to overcome challenges in life science, such as disease diagnosis and cancer therapy. He holds 12 patents, and has authored and co-authored more than 130 peer-reviewed papers, 2 books and 7 book chapters. He serves as an executive council member of Chinese Mass Spectrometry Society and a board member of the Society for Molecular Imprinting.

Read one of Zhen Liu’s Analytical Methods articles below:

Development of poly((3-acrylamidophenyl)boronic acid-co-N,N-methylenebisacrylamide) monolithic capillary for the selective capture of cis-diol biomolecules

DOI: 10.1039/C3AY41045E

Anal. Methods, 2013, 5, 5444-5449


Submit your best articles to Professor Chao Lu and Professor Zhen Liu now!


You can keep up to date with the latest developments from Analytical Methods by signing up for free table of contents alerts and monthly e-newsletters.

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Emerging Investigator Series – Chris Baker

We are delighted to introduce our first Analytical Methods Emerging Investigator, Chris Baker!

Dr Christopher A. Baker earned his B.S. in Chemistry from Wayne State University in 2007, and his Ph.D. in Analytical Chemistry from Florida State University in 2012. He was a postdoctoral associate at The University of Arizona (2012-2014), and Sandia National Laboratories (2014-2015). Currently, he is an assistant professor in the Department of Chemistry at The University of Tennessee, Knoxville. The Baker Bioanalysis Lab at UTK specializes in separation science and biomimetic sensor technologies. They are developing new micro- and nanotechnologies to help understand cellular signaling processes involved in neuroendocrine disorders and cancer.

 

Read Chris’s Emerging Investigator series paper “Characterization of low adsorption filter membranes for electrophoresis and electrokinetic sample manipulations in microfluidic paper-based analytical devices” and find out more about him in the interview below:

 

 

Your recent Emerging Investigator Series paper focuses on the efficacy of zonal electrophoresis in microfluidic paper-based analytical devices. How has your research evolved from your first article to this most recent article?
The majority of my research, going back to the start of my training, has focused on microfluidic instrumentation and separation science, and these are still two core themes of the research program we’re building at UTK. As a grad student, I used to think a lot about how to use microfabrication to produce complex devices for intricate fluid manipulations. My first paper described an electrophoresis device with integrated electrokinetic fraction collection, which was a gnarly-looking microfluidic chip that operated via a jumble of high voltage wires. In this latest article, we’re thinking about ways to make microfluidic instrumentation more widely accessible, which in our lab means reducing materials costs and utilizing fabrication techniques that are affordable and widely available. The devices we describe in the current article are much simpler in capability, offering just the basic functions of sample injection and electrophoretic separation, but the trade-off comes in how simple and affordable they are to produce. In my early work we used photolithography to produce devices that cost on the order of $50 per device. The electrophoresis devices in the current article can be produced using a pair of scissors, and each one costs substantially less than $1.

What aspect of your work are you most excited about at the moment?
I think that microfluidics will play a significant role in the move towards personalized medicine. As we continue to develop tools and techniques that lower the cost barriers and increase access to microfluidic technologies, I’m hopeful that we’ll be helping to accelerating the transition to personalized and, perhaps more importantly, affordable and accessible healthcare.
I have a really talented team of dedicated students, and they’re working on a lot more than just making microfluidics more cost effective and accessible. Much of our work focuses on addressing challenging questions in neuroendocrinology by developing new technologies for bioanalysis. I’m really excited that on our way to developing these new technologies, we’re finding powerful intersections between new bioanalytical capabilities and affordable, accessible technologies.

In your opinion, what are the key design considerations for developing effective microfluidic paper-based analytical devices?
Let me confess, I am brand new to the world of μPADs, so there are far more qualified opinions on this matter. That said, our focus in this area has been on incorporating electrokinetic mechanisms into μPADs, which is an emerging area that comes with some unique design considerations. I think the two most important considerations are discussed in the current article, and they are: 1) Appropriate heat dissipation – Joule heating in these devices is no joke! We’ve repeatedly had paper devices burst into flames at field strengths less than 100 V cm-1. Thankfully, these are very small devices, so it’s more like a birthday candle than a barn fire; and 2) Paper substrate selection – we show in this article that paper composition can have major effects on device performance. Most notably these come in the form of electroosmotic flow effects and sample adsorption. I think there’s a lot of work still left to be done on characterizing the wide array of available substrate materials.

What do you find most challenging about your research?
I think the work we’re doing is so much fun, and that includes the technological and experimental challenges that come along with any research. I’m extremely enthusiastic about our science, and I always want to know more about the technologies we’re developing or the biology we’re studying. This can lead to a major challenge for me, though. I’m never satisfied that we’re done studying something and we’re ready to write up a manuscript to tell the story. By the time the “last” experiment is done, my interest is already piqued for the next experiment, and then the experiment after that, and so on. I’ve actually had to tell my students “The next time I ask you to add another experiment to this paper, just remind me that it’s an experiment for the next paper.” They’re usually pretty good at keeping me in check on this one!

How do you spend your spare time?
My wife and I are expecting a baby any day now, so I’m anticipating that spare time will be in short supply for a while. When I do have the chance, I like to split my time between a few hobbies. I have an old truck in my garage, a 1966 Dodge A100, and I’m converting it to an electric vehicle. I’m an aspiring woodworker, photographer, computer coder, and general maker of things. My wife and I are both musicians, so we play jazz (and occasionally bad 90s music) together. We travel a lot. We love to take road trips all over the western U.S., and we never miss a chance to spend time in Tucson, AZ, which is where we met.

Which profession would you choose if you were not a scientist?
That’s tricky. I tend to imagine other careers in science and engineering (astronomer, computer programmer, Starfleet officer, etc.) I’d like to run a microbrewery, but that’s just microbiology with delicious by-products. Being a jazz vibraphonist would be fun, but musicians are mathematicians working in base 12. Shucks, I guess that means there are no non-science careers for me.

Can you share one piece of career-related advice or wisdom with other early career scientists?
Science is a creative profession, and creativity is a skill that requires practice. Imposter syndrome is a very real thing when you’re starting out, and I think it can push you to emulate rather than innovate. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with following practices that have worked for people you admire professionally, everyone does it, but emulation isn’t a particularly creative approach. My advice would be to find opportunities in your work to exercise your creativity, and give yourself permission to do things your own way. I’ve practiced this starting from small details of office management and built up all the way to big picture aspects of how we’ve designed our research program, and it’s been a major factor in getting past my feelings of imposter syndrome.

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