Archive for February, 2018

Lab on a Chip introduces optional authorship contributions to increase transparency

Lab on a Chip is introducing recommended authorship contributions in all its published articles from February 2018.

Including a description of author contributions increases transparency of who contributed what to the article and ensures that each author is given the appropriate level of credit (and responsibility) for their contribution. Inclusion of author contributions is already common practice in many biomedical/life sciences journals.

Authors are strongly encouraged to include with their submitted manuscript a section with “Author Contributions”, which will be published with the final article. Contributions should be explained concisely. Authors are strongly encouraged to use the CRediT taxonomy to describe those contributions (see terms below). Authors should have agreed to their individual contributions ahead of submission and should accurately reflect contributions to the work. Please note that for any manuscript with more than 10 co-authors, the corresponding author must provide the editor with a statement to specify the contribution of each author.

CRediT (Contributor Role Taxonomy) is a taxonomy tool by CASRAI (Consortia Advancing Standards in Research Administration) and it was developed to increase transparency in contributions by researchers to scholarly publications. More information about CRediT can we found on the CASRAI website.

CRediT terms

Contributor Role Role Definition
Conceptualization Ideas; formulation or evolution of overarching research goals and aims.
Methodology Development or design of methodology; creation of models.
Software Programming, software development; designing computer programs; implementation of the computer code and supporting algorithms; testing of existing code components.
Validation Verification, whether as a part of the activity or separate, of the overall replication/reproducibility of results/experiments and other research outputs.
Formal Analysis Application of statistical, mathematical, computational, or other formal techniques to analyze or synthesize study data.
Investigation Conducting a research and investigation process, specifically performing the experiments, or data/evidence collection.
Resources Provision of study materials, reagents, materials, patients, laboratory samples, animals, instrumentation, computing resources, or other analysis tools.
Data Curation Management activities to annotate (produce metadata), scrub data and maintain research data (including software code, where it is necessary for interpreting the data itself) for initial use and later reuse.
Writing – Original Draft Preparation Creation and/or presentation of the published work, specifically writing the initial draft (including substantive translation).
Writing – Review & Editing Preparation, creation and/or presentation of the published work by those from the original research group, specifically critical review, commentary or revision – including pre- or post-publication stages.
Visualization Preparation, creation and/or presentation of the published work, specifically visualization/data presentation.
Supervision Oversight and leadership responsibility for the research activity planning and execution, including mentorship external to the core team.
Project Administration Management and coordination responsibility for the research activity planning and execution.
Funding Acquisition Acquisition of the financial support for the project leading to this publication.

 

Any questions regarding “Author Contributions” should be directed to the Lab on a Chip Editorial Office.

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“Cutting edge” technology for cell biology in tape-based devices

Sticker-like devices enable quick, rapid prototyping for cell culture experiments

Xurography, or razor-printing, is a low-cost and accessible method for fabricating microfluidic devices. By using a computer controlled razor cutter, sheets of material can be cut precisely to a design. Using adhesive materials, the cut patterns can be used like stickers, and microfluidic devices can then be made by stacking and layering the stickers to create three-dimensional structures. While razor-cut devices might not have the same resolution as soft lithography (150 μm vs. 10-30 μm), their ease of fabrication and rapid turnaround time makes the method very user-friendly and great for rapid prototyping. It is precisely for their ease of use that Jay Warrick (U. Wisconsin) and Maribella Domenech (U. Puerto Rico at Mayagüez) wanted to work with razor-cut microfluidics.

Having access to a very easy fabrication method became a necessity for Domenech. After an electrical fire destroyed her lab and soft lithography equipment in 2016, Domenech was looking for an easy way continue her research while waiting for renovations to be completed. Since she works primarily with undergraduate research students, she needed a fabrication method with a gentle learning curve. “Lithography methods are too difficult to be mastered  within a couple of weeks, but razor-cut devices are easy for anyone to fabricate and use,” says Domenech.

As easy and accessible as any method may be, it won’t gain widespread adoption by a community unless it’s trusted. For biologists, this means trusting that the material is biocompatible and won’t interfere with their experiments. In their recent report, Domenech and Warrick address this challenge and do a service to the community by thoroughly characterizing ARcare 90106, a double-sided adhesive tape for xurography. The tape was compared to polystyrene and PDMS devices, the bread and butter materials of cell biology and microfluidics, respectively. The tape showed good performance across a variety of metrics of cell growth and with a range of cell types. Further, it compared favorably to PDMS in terms of absorption of lipophilic molecules, which means it is less likely to interfere with co-culture experiments where the diffusion of extracellular molecules (e.g., hormones, cytokines, growth factors etc.) is very important.

Easy-made tape-based biocompatible devices open up new opportunities for cell biology. “It’s quite enabling to be able to adhere these devices to so many different types of surfaces,” says Warrick. And because the tape is flexible, it can stick on curved surfaces as well as flat. It also opens up opportunities to integrate new materials with microfluidic devices. Warrick says he’s “often looked at different materials and wished there was an easy way to integrate them. Tape solves this.” In terms of new materials, the team demonstrated the integration of sheets of electrospun collagen within razor-cut microfluidic devices, and co-lead author Yasmín Álvarez-García is currently investigating what other materials could be incorporated. She hopes to expand the current work to include more cell types, perform cell migration studies, and expand the usability of the technique. This will further increase the trustworthiness of the tape’s biocompatibility and lower the barriers for more biologist to get into microfluidics.

To read the full paper for free*, click the link below:

Razor-printed sticker microdevices for cell-based applications

DOI: 10.1039/c7lc00724h (Paper), Lab on a Chip, 2018, 18, 451

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About the Webwriters

Darius Rackus (Right) is a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Toronto working in the Wheeler Lab. His research interests are in combining sensors with digital microfluidics for healthcare applications.

 

*free access until 28th February 2018

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Lego bricks: A quick and cheap way to build microfluidic prototypes

Written for Chemistry World 

Scientists in the US have discovered that Lego bricks can be an effective way of constructing modular microfluidic systems.

Crystal Owens and John Hart from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology used a desktop micromilling machine to drill channels as small as 150μm wide into the Lego bricks. Each brick was designed to perform one or more functions such as mixing, droplet generation, sorting and sensing.

“Making the system modular is a natural choice, because a system can be built piece-by-piece without knowing the final design, and easily changed,” says Owens.

 

Read the full article and watch the video clip in Chemistry World.

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