Pioneers of Miniaturization Lectureship 2018

Lab on a Chip and Dolomite are proud to sponsor the thirteenth Pioneers of Miniaturization Lectureship, to honour and support the up and coming, next generation of scientists who have significantly contributed to the understanding or development of miniaturised systems. This year’s Lectureship will be presented at the µTAS 2018 Conference in Kaohsiung, Taiwan with the recipient receiving a prize of US$2,000.

Who should you nominate?

Early to mid-career scientists (maximum 15 years post completion of PhD).

Scientists who have demonstrated outstanding contributions to the understanding or development of miniaturised systems.

How do you nominate?

Submit your nominations to Lab on a Chip Editor Sam Keltie at LOC-RSC@rsc.org

Nominations should include:

  • Full contact and affiliation details of the person making the nomination.
  • A letter of nomination with the candidate’s accomplishments and why the lectureship is deserved. (The nominee must be aware that he/she has been nominated for this lectureship.)
  • A list of the candidate’s relevant publications or recent work (all work should be original).
  • Candidate’s scientific CV stating PhD completion date; address; and full contact details.

Nomination Deadline: 30 June 2018

Who has won the Pioneers of Miniaturization Lectureship in the past?

  • 2017: Professor Aaron Wheeler, University of Toronto, Canada
  • 2016: Professor Daniel Irimia, Massachusetts General Hospital, USA
  • 2015: Professor Dino Di Carlo, University of California, Los Angeles, USA
  • 2014: Professor Sangeeta N. Bhatia, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA
  • 2013: Professor Shuichi Takayama, University of Michigan, USA
  • 2012: Professor Andrew deMello, ETH Zürich, Switzerland
  • 2011: Professor Ali Khademhosseini, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA
  • 2010: Professor Stephen Quake, Stanford University, USA
  • 2009: Professor Abe Lee, University of California, Irvine, USA
  • 2008: Dr Patrick Doyle, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA
  • 2007: Dr Manabu Tokeshi, Nagoya University, Japan
  • 2006: Dr David Beebe, University of Wisconsin, USA

Terms and Conditions

The Lectureship consists of the following elements:

  • A prize of US$2,000. No other financial contribution will be offered
  • A certificate recognising the winner of the lectureship
  • The awardee is required to give a short lecture at the 2018 µTAS Conference

The award is for early to mid-career scientists (maximum 15 years post completion of PhD). Appropriate consideration will be given to those who have taken a career break or followed a different study path.

The award is for outstanding contributions to the understanding or development of miniaturised systems. This will be judged mainly through their top 1-3 papers and/or an invention documented by patents/or a commercial product. Awards and honorary memberships may also be considered.

The winner will be expected to submit at least two significant publications to Lab on a Chip in the 12 months after the lectureship is awarded.

Nominations from students and self-nominations are not permissible.

The decision on the winner of the lectureship will be made by a panel of judges coordinated by the Editor, and this decision will be final.


Sponsors

Dolomite

Dolomite, part of the Blacktrace group, is the world leader in the design and manufacture of microfluidic products. Our systems are flexible and modular, allowing users to execute a wide range of applications in biology, chemistry, drug discovery, food, cosmetics, and academia. With expertise on hand, we can talk to you about your needs to ensure you find the right system for you and your research.

Lab on a Chip

Lab on a Chip provides a unique forum for the publication of significant and original work related to miniaturisation, at the micro- and nano-scale, of interest to a multidisciplinary readership. The journal seeks to publish work at the interface between physical technological advancements and high impact applications that are of direct interest to a broad audience.

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Manabu Tokeshi – Our new Associate Editor

We are delighted to announce our new Associate Editor – Manabu Tokeshi!

“I am excited to join the editorial team of Lab on a Chip, my favorite Journal ever since its inception.  I am looking forward to seeing your excellent research in this Journal.”

Manabu Tokeshi is a Professor at the Division of Applied Chemistry at Hokkaido University, Japan and a visiting Professor at the ImPACT Research Center for Advanced Nanobiodevice, Innovative Research Center for Preventive Medical Engineering, and Institute of Innovation for Future Society at Nagoya University.

He received his PhD degree from Kyushu University, Japan. After a research fellowship of the Japan Society of Promotion of Science at The University of Tokyo, he worked at Kanagawa Academy of Science and Technology as a researcher, group subleader and group leader. Before joining Hokkaido University as Professor in 2011, Manabu worked at the Institute of Microchemistry Technology Co. Ltd. as President and at Nagoya University as an Associate Professor.

Professor Tokeshi is a board member of the Chemical & Biological Microsystem Society (CBMS) which oversees the International Conference on Miniaturized Systems for Chemical and Life Sciences (mTAS). He has received various awards for his work, including the Outstanding Researcher Award on Chemistry and Micro-Nano Systems from the Society for Chemistry and Micro-Nano Systems (2007), the Lab on a Chip/Corning Inc Pioneers in Miniaturization Lectureship (2007) and the Masao Horiba Award from HORIBA, Ltd. (2011).

His research interests are in the development of micro- and nano-systems for chemical, biochemical, and clinical applications. You can find out more about Manabu’s research on his homepage.

Manabu will be handling papers from 1st January 2017, so submit your best work to him!

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Emerging Investigator Series – Jonathan Song and Shaurya Prakash

We are delighted to introduce our latest Lab on a Chip Emerging Investigators, Jonathan Song and Shaurya Prakash!

Jonathan Song is an Assistant Professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering and Faculty Member of the Comprehensive Cancer Center at the Ohio State University (OSU).  He received his B.S. in Biomedical Engineering (BME) from Northwestern University and his Ph.D. in BME from the University of Michigan while working in the laboratory of Dr. Shu Takayama.  He completed a post-doctoral fellowship in the laboratory of Dr. Lance Munn in the Edwin L. Steele Laboratory at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School.  Since 2014, he has been a faculty member at OSU where he leads an interdisciplinary lab that applies microtechnology, principles from tissue engineering, and quantitative engineering analysis for studying the physical dynamics of tumor and vascular biology.  As a faculty member, he has received the NSF CAREER Award, the American Heart Association (AHA) Scientist Development Grant, and the OSU Comprehensive Cancer Center Pelotonia Junior Investigator Award.  His research has been funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), NSF, AHA, American Cancer Society (ACS), and the OSU Institute for Materials Research.

 

Shaurya Prakash is an Associate Professor of Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering and Infectious Diseases Institute (IDI) Thematic Program Director (for Prevention, Detection, and Therapies) at The Ohio State University (OSU). He graduated with a Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2007 and with a B.S. also in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville in 2001. He has been on the faculty at The Ohio State University since fall 2009 where he directs the Microsystems and Nanosystems Laboratory. His research group focuses on designing, fabrication, and characterization of microsystems and nanosystems for applications in healthcare and engineering biology, water purification, and alternate and renewable energy. The main goals of their research are to: provide a scientific and technological solution to the pressing problems of a rapidly evolving modern society, and educate ourselves, our students, and the community we serve.

Read there Emerging Investigators Series article “Flow dynamics control endothelial permeability in a microfluidic vessel bifurcation model” and find out more about them in the interview below:

Your recent Emerging Investigator Series paper focuses on the role flow dynamics play in endothelial permeability in a microfluidic vessel bifurcation model. How has your research evolved from your first article to this most recent article?

Jonathan: This is a very nice question.  I have been thinking of flow dynamics and generally blood vessel remodeling and angiogenesis for quite a long time now and how microfluidics is a very powerful approach for probing this biology.  This interest had first crested during my post-doc where I published a paper in 2011 with my post-doc advisor Dr. Lance Munn in PNAS (https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1105316108), which was also highlighted very nicely by Lab on a Chip when this article was first published (DOI: 10.1039/c1lc90131a).  Through this work, I began to fully understand and appreciate how endothelial cells that line intact blood vessels have the capacity to integrate multiple extrinsic signals, both fluid mechanical and biochemical, to determine their angiogenesis fate.

This most recent article is a bit different and I consider a significant technical advancement because of the bifurcating vessel geometry produced by microfluidic system design.  Previous microsystems that I and others had primarily used were mostly straight or parallel channels that do not reconstitute how actual blood vessels branch into two daughter vessels.  My graduate student Ehsan Akbari came up with a clever design that we described in this latest article and enabled the results that we reported.

Shaurya: Over time, my research has evolved in many ways. My first few research articles on microscale reacting gas flows (microcombustion) in millimetre scale channels really started to establish many of the fundamental insights to reacting flows in a new type of configuration. Since then, observing the trends in my work, I see that my research has dealt with developing devices for understanding microfluidic and nanofluidic flows in a variety of configurations spanning a large range of applications from healthcare to energy and water. The goal has always been to develop science to enable new technology for solving problems important to modern society. This particular article on endothelial permeability follows (at least in my mind!) the natural extension of developing novel microfluidic systems and probing fundamental transport characteristics, which in this case happens to be for an important element in biology.

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

Jonathan: Because of my training in microfluidics, I think I will always be excited about developing new systems and applying them to study a specific physiology.  However, at present I am particularly excited in studying the subcellular biophysics that orchestrate changes in endothelial remodeling and angiogenesis.  My lab is part of team along with my co-author on this article (Dr. Shaurya Prakash) and our Ohio State University (OSU) colleague Dr. Carlos Castro that was recently awarded an NIH R01 grant to specifically study this biology.  One of the experimental test beds for these studies is the microfluidic system that was first described in this article.

Shaurya: Our microfluidic platform provides us tremendous flexibility in evaluating bio-chemical-electrical-mechanical aspects of the endothelium. In particular, the ability to systematically evaluate effects of a variety of mechanical, electrical, and chemical stimuli to elicit biological responses from endothelial cells present an exciting avenue for future research that can probably help us to think about how we can truly begin to reach in the domain of ‘engineering biology’.

In your opinion, what is the biggest insight into the mechanisms that control vessel function presented by your research?

Jonathan: I believe it is that the impinging stagnation point flow at the base of our bifurcating microfluidic model (which we term in the article as bifurcated fluid flow or BFF) imparts a vessel stabilizing effect that is nitric oxide (NO) dependent.  This outcome has prompted multiple questions that we wish to pursue in the future that relate to vessel function and vessel maturation.

Shaurya: In this paper, the evaluation of time-dependent changes to endothelial permeability under a variety of systematically controlled local flow conditions (stagnation pressure at bifurcation point, local shear stress, and transvascular flow) showed that the mechanical forces acting on the endothelial cells biochemically-mediate endothelial remodeling processes. Here we reported the first observation of the time-dependent effect of stagnation pressure at the bifurcation point on the permeability thereby introducing stagnation flows at the base of vessel bifurcations as an important regulator of vessel permeability and suggest a mechanism by which local flow dynamics control vascular function in vivo through this in vitro study.

What do you find most challenging about your research?

Jonathan: I do like pretty much all aspects of my lab’s research and appreciate the challenges that are associated with working in interdisciplinary research.  What I do find particularly challenging at times is staying on top of the most cutting-edge literature in both the microtechnology and the biology related to my lab’s work.

Shaurya: In vivo biological responses are incredibly complex. The ability to carefully design devices to elucidate systematically the underlying biophysics through in vitro systems requires bringing together various skill sets and intellectual expertise from microfluidic device design, fabrication, and characterization to appropriate biological models followed by subsequent analysis and modeling. Integrating all these skills and expertise to one platform via an interdisciplinary team is both exciting and challenging.

In which upcoming conferences or events may our readers meet you?

Jonathan: My travel patterns have varied from year to year but I typically attend Experimental Biology (or FASEB) because of my involvement with the Microcirculatory Society.  I also typically attend the Summer Biomechanics, Bioengineering, and Biotransport Conference (SB3) and the Biomedical Engineering Society (BMES) Annual Meeting.  I have also enjoyed attending the ASME NanoEngineering for Medicine and Biology (NEMB) conference.  I have not been as active in attending some of the disease specific conferences but intend to start doing so.

Shaurya: Our results are shared at many premier meetings like MicroTAS, Hilton Head Workshop, and other related meetings.

How do you spend your spare time?

Jonathan: My wife is trained as a social worker and is a big proponent of heath and wellness.  Thus, we try to stay active.  For example, we like to take our son biking with us.  He is only 2 years-old now so he is secured to seat on the front of my wife’s bike.  Admittedly, we typically just bike to our favorite local coffee shop.  I have also gotten into a little more extensive cycling, driven largely by my involvement with the OSU Comprehensive Cancer Center Pelotonia, which is an annual philanthropic bike race that has raised over $150 million for cancer research since it was started in 2008.  I have rode in every Pelotonia race since I started at OSU in 2014.

Shaurya:  Family time is essential to my success. Sharing my spare time with an incredibly supportive wife, amazing kids (and a wonderful fur-baby, dog) is time well spent. Any residual time after that is taken up by reading and working in my yard tending to my flower beds and lawn.

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

Jonathan: Broadly speaking, probably something in in the business world.  However, if that were the case, I do not think I would be enjoying myself as much as I am now.  Working with my students is probably my favorite part of being an academic scientist.

Shaurya: This is a difficult question as being an engineer and scientist has been not just a profession but a way of life in thinking about solving problems that impact modern society. As a professor, I also enjoy teaching and working with young(er) minds to develop thought processes for solving problems. In my own younger days I was a fair athlete and so being a coach that would allow me to contribute to future generations as a mentor, teacher, and role-model to facilitate positive impact on our world would be an alternate life for me.

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

Jonathan: Invest in ideas that excite you the most.  Also, when pursuing collaborative projects, try to go for the ones that are both highly significant and mutually beneficial for all parties involved.

Shaurya: Choose and work on problems you truly care about – it shows in how the science is done and technology is developed and all the essential pieces behind impactful work like idea and concept development, writing and reading to compare against state-of-art, and eventually advancing the state-of-art. Therefore, pursuing problems that one is truly passionate about is important.

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Emerging Investigator Series – Edmond Young

We are delighted to introduce our latest Lab on a Chip Emerging Investigator, Edmond Young!

Dr. Edmond Young joined the Department of Mechanical & Industrial Engineering at the University of Toronto as an Assistant Professor in January 2013. He received his BASc (2001) and MASc (2003) in Mechanical Engineering at the University of British Columbia, and his PhD in Mechanical and Biomedical Engineering at the University of Toronto (2008). He was a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Wisconsin-Madison from 2009 to 2012, working at the Wisconsin Institute for Medical Research (WIMR). Professor Young’s research interests focus on the development of microscale technologies for cell biology applications, with emphasis on creating engineered models that mimic the cell and tissue microenvironments in both healthy and diseased animals. He received the Governor General’s Gold Medal and the Norman F. Moody Award for academic excellence in 2009, the MIE Early Career Teaching Award in 2015, the Ontario Early Researcher Award and Connaught New Investigator Award in 2016, and has been recognized as an Outstanding Reviewer for Lab on a Chip in both 2016 and 2017.

Read Edmond’s Emerging Investigator series paper “Microfluidic lung airway-on-a-chip with arrayable suspended gels for studying epithelial and smooth muscle cell interactions” and find out more about him in the interview below:

Your recent Emerging Investigator Series paper focuses on lung airway-on-a-chip. How has your research evolved from your first article to this most recent article?

This is actually our first article on this specific project, and we’re excited to share these results with the Lab on a Chip readership, and others doing lung-on-a-chip research. I can think back to a few articles on thermoplastic microfabrication that our lab published (Guckenberger et al., Lab Chip, 2015; Wan et al., Lab Chip, 2015; Wan et al., JoVE, 2017), which really enabled us to fabricate our current airway-on-a-chip device consistently and repeatably. Developing reliable fabrication methods gave us the confidence needed to do these long-term cultures without constantly worrying about fabrication challenges. Now, our lab can fabricate and keep devices “in stock” well ahead of the biology experiments, and that in itself has been a bit of an evolution in our lab and also in the field.

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

I’m most excited about the ongoing collaborations with engineers and doctors who are interested in using the platform for their own work. The technology still has a lot of room for development, but hearing how the system may be applied to lung research, and potentially other biology questions, is very exciting and motivating.

In your opinion, what is the biggest impact your developed lung airway-on-a-chip could have on our understanding of chronic lung diseases?

I think the biggest impact will be learning about the differences in biological responses of the various in vitro and ex vivo airway models, against which we plan to benchmark our model. The promise of organ-on-a-chip technology lies in its ability to mimic human tissue more accurately, and if our model can continue to advance as planned, we envision making new observations with our device that could not have been made with conventional models. And if we do find interesting differences, it will build on the growing evidence that traditional platforms such as 2D Transwells for coculture do not properly recapitulate the in vivo microenvironment. Many scientists will need to rethink their approach to in vitro experiments (if they haven’t done so already), and decide what models are most representative and most useful.

What do you find most challenging about your research?

The most challenging aspect of my research overall is trying to keep pace with the field. It is a rapidly evolving area of research with many amazing scientists and engineers making important contributions. Research takes time and patience, so another constant challenge is managing students who are just learning about the effort, resilience, and patience needed to make something work in research. But it’s well worth it when you see the results, both in terms of the research and in terms of student development.

In which upcoming conferences or events may our readers meet you?

I’ll be in Whistler from May 9-11, 2018 for an Emerging Technologies Conference, back in Toronto to co-chair the Ontario-on-a-Chip Symposium from May 24-25, 2018 (Lab on a Chip is our sponsor this year!), and plan to be at microTAS 2018 in Taiwan.

How do you spend your spare time?

I play a little tennis (seasonally in Toronto’s climate), but my latest source of amusement when I have spare time is my 11-month-old daughter Amelia. When she’s old enough, I will surely convince her to get into tennis (and hockey) so that her dad can live vicariously through her athletic pursuits! And if she happens to fall in love with research, I’d be pleased with that too.

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

I considered being an architect when I was younger, and I still get excited when I hear of the latest buildings and structures around the world that are being built. I like the technical engineering aspects of it, of course, but I also like how they define the skyline of big cities, and how art, culture, and engineering all come together in some of the world’s most beautiful architecture.

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

Surround yourself with great people. That applies to your friends, mentors, colleagues, and importantly, your students. And let them all challenge you so that your ideas are pressure-tested.

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ISMM 2018

The ISMM 2018 conference takes place from Tues 19 – Thurs 21 June, 2018 in Busan, Korea

Key deadlines

Notice of Acceptance for Oral Presentation: 27th March 2018 – 3rd April 2018
Early Registration Deadline: 24th April 2018
Abstract deadline for Poster Presentation: 8th May 2018

Plenary speakers will include Professor Abraham Lee and Professor Roland Zengerie. For further information on how to register, specific topics of interest, venue and other listed speakers, please see the conference website.

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2018 Joint Ontario-on-a-Chip and TOeP Symposium

2018 Joint Ontario-on-a-Chip and TOeP Symposium will take place May 24 – 25, 2018

Keynote symposium speakers:

Prof. Sabeth Verpoorte 

Prof. Howard Stone 

Dates and Location

Abstract submission: April 28th, 2018

Registration: Early-bird registration will end April 15th, 2018

Organisers:

Dr. Scott Tsai, Department of Mechanical & Industrial Engineering, Ryerson University

Dr. Edmond Young, Department of Mechanical & Industrial Engineering, University of Toronto

Dr. Milica Radisic, Institute of Biomaterials and Biomedical Engineering, University of

 

For information on invited speakers, registration fees and further details about the program, see the conference website and submit your abstract here.

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Outstanding Reviewers for Lab on a Chip in 2017

We would like to highlight the Outstanding Reviewers for Lab on a Chip in 2017, 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 David Collins, Singapore University of Technology and Design

Dr  Shoji Takeuchi, University of Tokyo, Japan

Dr Chia Hung Chen, National University of Singapore

Professor Dino Di Carlo, University of California, Los Angeles

Dr Robert Meagher Sandia National Laboratories

Dr  Jian Zhou, University of Illinois at Chicago

Dr Edmond Young, University of Toronto

Professor Amy Herr, University of California, Berkeley

Dr  Adam White, Stanford University

Dr Citsabehsan Devendran, Monash University

We would also like to thank the Lab on a Chip board and 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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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

__________________

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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EMBL Microfluidics 2018 Conference

EMBL Microfuidics 2018 Conference will be held at EMBL Heidelberg, Germany between 15th-17th July 2018

“The EMBL Microfluidics Conference 2018 aims to bring together top researchers in the field and to spark scientific exchange, also across different disciplines. The latest Lab-on-a-Chip technologies and applications will be presented, which should be of major interest for experts as well as scientists looking for a first glance at this exciting new technology.”

Over the past years microfluidic approaches have been used for a variety of applications, including nucleotide sequencing, functional genomics, single-cell/single-molecule studies and diagnostics. Many of these applications, including next-generation sequencing devices, have been revolutionised by miniaturisation, paving the way for global gene analysis and hence transforming biology. Small objects such as cells, or even discrete parts thereof, can be exposed to unique conditions, facilitating entirely novel approaches in modern biology and chemistry.

Confirmed speakers include Lab on a Chip Associate Editors Petra Dittrich (ETH Zurich) and Hang Lu (Georgia Institute of Technology), Lab on a Chip Editorial Board member Piotr Garstecki (Polish Academy of Sciences) and Lab on a Chip Advisory Board members Amy E. Herr (UC Berkeley) and Dave Weitz (Harvard University).

LOCATION & DATES 

EMBL Heidelberg, Germany 15 – 17 Jul 2018

DEADLINES:

 Registration – 4 Jun 2018 

Abstract – 23 Apr 2018

Lab on a Chip  Editor-in-Chief, Abe Lee will be chairing a session during the conference and Deputy Editor, Maria Southall will also be attending the conference.

For further information on the conference, please visit the main website. To register, please click here.

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