Author Archive

2018 Art in Science Competition

Get your entries in before the deadline on 15th October 2018 (23:59 Honolulu, Hawaii, USA time)

 

The µTAS 2018 Conference will feature the 11th Art in Science competition entitled ‘Under the Looking Glass: Art from the World of Small Science‘, sponsored and supported by National Institute of Standards and TechnologyLab on a ChipMicroTAS and the Chemical and Biological Microsystems Society.

Since the earliest publications of the scientific world, the aesthetic value of scientific illustrations and images has been critical to many researchers. The illustrations and diagrams of earlier scientists such as Galileo and Da Vinci have become iconic symbols of science and the scientific thought process.

In current scientific literature, many scientists consider the selection of a publication as a “cover article” in a prestigious journal to be very complimentary.

Deadline 15th October 2018 at 23:59 Honolulu, Hawaii, USA time—please note this is a month before the conference!

 

Are you attending the µTAS 2018 Conference?

Would you like your image to be featured on the cover of Lab on a Chip?

To draw attention to the aesthetic value in scientific illustration while still conveying scientific merit, NIST, LOC and CBMS are sponsoring this annual competition. Applications are encouraged from authors in attendance of the µTAS Conference and the winner will be selected by a panel of judges and presented at the Royal Society of Chemistry/Lab on a Chip booth during the last poster session of the 2018 MicroTAS conference.

Applications must show a photograph, micrograph or other accurate representation of a system that would be of interest to the µTAS community and be represented in the final manuscript or presentation given at the Conference.

They must also contain a brief caption that describes the illustration’s content and its scientific merit. The winner will be selected on the basis of aesthetic eye appeal, artistic allure and scientific merit. In addition to having the image featured on the cover of Lab on a Chip, the winner will also receive a financial prize at the Conference.


Art in Science Competition Submission Process

Step 1. Sign-In to the Electronic Form Using Your Abstract/Manuscript Number

Step 2. Fill in Remaining Information on Electronic Submission Form

Step 3. Upload Your Image

Good Luck!

You can also take a look at the winners from last year on our blog.

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Emerging Investigator Series – Rebecca Pompano

We are delighted to introduce our latest Lab on a Chip Emerging Investigator, Rebecca Pompano.

Dr. Rebecca Pompano is an Assistant Professor in the Departments of Chemistry and Biomedical Engineering at the University of Virginia, and a member of the Beirne B. Carter Center for Immunology Research.  She completed a BS in Chemistry at the University of Richmond in 2005, and a PhD in 2011 at the University of Chicago, working in the laboratory of Dr. Rustem Ismagilov.  She completed a postdoc in the University of Chicago Department of Surgery, leading a collaboration between Dr. Joel Collier, a tissue engineer, and Dr. Anita Chong, an immunologist.  Since 2014, she has been a faculty member at UVA, where her research interests center on developing microfluidic and chemical assays to unravel the complexity of the immune response.  She received an Individual Biomedical Research Award from The Hartwell Foundation and the national 2016 Starter Grant Award from the Society of Analytical Chemists of Pittsburgh.  Recently, her lab was awarded an NIH R01 to develop hybrids of microfluidics and lymph node tissue to study inflammation.  In addition to her research, she is active in advocating for continued funding for education and biomedical research on Capitol Hill.

Read her Emerging Investigator Series article “User-defined local stimulation of live tissue through a movable microfluidic port” and find out more about her in the interview below:

Your recent Emerging Investigator Series paper focuses on stimulation of live tissue through a movable microfluidic port. How has your research evolved from your first article to this most recent article?

My current research combines some seemingly disparate themes from my prior work.  My first article in graduate school used droplet microfluidics to study blood clotting, and I became fascinated with how spatial organization affects the function of complex biological systems. Later, I also worked on the physics of fluid flow in a reconfigurable SlipChip device… and both of these ideas make a comeback in this current paper!  Then in my postdoc, I had the fabulous opportunity to work in both a bioengineering lab and an immunology lab, studying the mechanism of action of a new non-inflammatory vaccine. The research in my lab now is really at the intersection of bioanalytical chemistry, bioengineering, and immunology.  We develop new tools to study the immune system and how it is organized. This particular paper offers a new technology to pick and choose where to deliver a drug or stimulant to a piece of live tissue, and we demonstrated it for lymph nodes, our favorite immune organ.

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

I am very excited about the ideas we are pursuing, specifically that our tools to control and detect how tissue is organized might prove useful for other researchers.  As a chemist by training, I’m thrilled to collaborate with creative bioengineers and immunologists like Jennifer Munson (Virginia Tech) and Melanie Rutkowski (U Virginia) to work on inflammatory diseases and tumor immunology.  Seeing our chips at work in their labs is very rewarding.

In your opinion, what is the biggest advantage of using local stimulation over global stimulation for measuring tissue responses?

Local stimulation, by which I mean delivering fluid or a drug to one region of tissue, rather than bathing the entire sample in media, gives you the chance to ask unique questions about spatial organization.  For example, I envision using this microfluidic technique to determine whether a drug is more effective when delivered to one area of tissue than another, and then developing a nanoparticle that targets just the right region.  It can also be used to mimic local biological events, like diffusion of signals from a blood vessel, to determine how inflammation initiates and propagates through live tissue.

What do you find most challenging about your research?

Studying the immune system – its complexity is what I love about it, but it is challenging when the cells and tissue do exactly the opposite of what you expected!  This happens over and over when we ask a real biological question. I suppose it shows how much there is still to learn, and why new tools are so desperately needed to predict and control immunity.

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

I’m looking forward to MicroTAS in Taiwan this year. I also bounce around between Pittcon (analytical chemistry), the Society for Biomaterials annual meeting, and the annual AAI Immunology conference.  This fall I’ll be attending the BMES annual meeting (Biomedical Engineering Society) for the first time!  There is not yet a focused conference for immunoanalysis and immunoengineering, but I’m hoping one will form soon.

How do you spend your spare time?

A few years ago I would have said knitting… I had a great group of friends in graduate school who would get together to knit every week.  I still wear those socks and sweaters!  Now though, my husband Drew and I spend most of our free time playing together with our 2-year old, Jasper.  Sometimes I also go to Drew’s gigs to be a rock star’s spouse instead of a chemistry professor for a while.  He’s a bassist in several great bands in Charlottesville (check a few of them out – Pale Blue Dot and 7th Grade Girl Fight).

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

I almost went into science policy instead of academia. I seriously entertained the idea of working at USAID helping promote vaccines internationally, or working in a think tank to help guide health-related policies.  I’m still very passionate about the need for scientists to inform the public and our elected officials about the science underlying issues like health, education, and care of the environment.

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

A former mentor recommended me the book, Ask For It, by Linda Babcock and Sara Laschever, and it completely changed how I operate.  I think many early career scientists could benefit from this book, which is about overcoming self-doubt to ask for what you really need. Although ostensibly written for women, in science I see so many men and women who could achieve something great with just a little confidence booster.

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Roll-to-roll PDMS-chips for the masses in molecular diagnostics

PDMS microfluidic devices for molecular diagnostics are now produced at scale using roll-to-roll manufacturing

If there is one material that has enabled microfluidic research in academia, poly(dimethylsiloxane) (PDMS) is surely it. PDMS is cheap and easy to prototype with, and its elastomeric properties have led to complicated structures (e.g. valving) in microfluidic channels. Although it is great for rapid prototyping, there is often a disconnect between the prototype and high throughput manufacturing due to a lack of scalable production methods. Researchers at VTT-Technical Research Centre of Finland and the University of California Berkeley have recently reported a roll-to-roll method for fabricating PDMS microfluidic chips.

In roll-to-roll (R2R) processing—common to the paper industry—long sheets of materials are continuously processed, feeding through rollers and modules with different functionalities. To form R2R microfluidic devices, PDMS was applied to an aluminized paper substrate and then embossed by a heated nickel imprinting cylinder which also cured the PDMS. The devices had good reproducibility and channel depths around 100 µm were achieved. Replication from the nickel master was automated and performed at high throughput of 1.5 m/min. Olli-Heikki Huttunen, one of the authors on the paper, said that “although the process required a lot of fine tuning, it was surprisingly simple.” Like other high-throughput manufacturing techniques (e.g. injection moulding), the nickel tool is quite expensive, but these costs can be overcome by the volume of production.

As a proof-of-principle application, the authors demonstrated nucleic acid detection by loop-mediated isothermal amplification (LAMP). Reagents were spotted and dried in the microchannels using a roll-to-roll compatible dispensing machine, and PDMS lids with vias for fluidic and vacuum connections were formed by a roll-to-roll process (though vias were manually punched) and then bonded manually. Huttunen said that the next steps are to figure out how to manufacture the entire device roll-to-roll, but that it should not be too challenging.

Using aluminized paper as the base substrate for the devices offered a couple advantages. One is that the aluminium dramatically reduced the paper’s autofluorescence. Another advantage was the aluminum reflected back both excitation and emission light, resulting in stronger signals. Results from the test could be read within 20 minutes, suggesting that these devices would be useful for low-cost point-of-care testing.

The challenge for the future, says corresponding author Luke Lee, will be “to learn what the new rules of thinking and design are for roll-to-roll microfluidics in order to solve the problem of mass production in integrated molecular diagnostics for all.” This is an exciting new prospect for both PDMS and the microfluidics community.

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

PDMS microfluidic devices for molecular diagnostics are now produced at scale using roll-to-roll manufacturing

*article free to read from 06/06/2018 – 06/07/2018

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.

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2018 Joint Ontario-on-a-Chip and Training Program in Organ-on-a-Chip Engineering & Entrepreneurship (TOeP) Symposium, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

This May, the University of Toronto hosted the 13th annual Ontario-on-a-Chip (OOAC) symposium in conjunction with the Training Program in Organ-on-a-Chip Engineering & Entrepreneurship (TOeP) annual research day. This two-day event has a tradition of bringing together the local microfluidics community as well as an exceptional programme of keynote and invited speakers. One highlight of this year’s program included the keynote lecture from Howard Stone (Princeton) at the start of the event. Dr. Stone gave a fascinating talk describing his group’s work trying to understand bacterial motility in flow environments as well as the use of diffusiophoresis—generating electric fields through liquid junction potentials—to separate particles in flow, and this generated a lot of discussion over the two days. Two great overviews of emerging topics were also given: Sabeth Verpoorte (U. Groningen) provided an engaging perspective on the journey from cells in microchannels to organ-on-a-chip technology, and Dan Huh (U. Penn.) spoke on his lab’s efforts to develop various complex organs-on-a-chip, including a blinking eye. In the same vein, Ravi Selvaganapathy (McMaster U.) shared his work on developing tools and materials for low-cost bioprinting.

Lab-on-a-Chip first place poster award presented to Jae Bem You (left) by Edmond Young (right)

 

In addition to a great program of keynote and invited speakers, student presentations and posters are at the core of the symposium. This year, Jae Bem You (Sinton Lab, U. Toronto) won the Lab on a Chip sponsored Top Poster Prize for his poster on isolation and immobilization of single sperm cells for motility and genetic analysis. The symposium was organized by Edmond Young (U. Toronto), Scott Tsai (Ryerson) and Milica Radisic (U. Toronto). The organizers are grateful to Lab on a Chip for their support, and look forward to bringing the microfluidics community together again next year!

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.

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NEMB NanoEngineering for Medicine and Biology Conference 2018

NEMB NanoEngineering for Medicine and Biology Conference

Key dates

Conference:
August 21-24, 2018

Exhibition:
August 22-23, 2018

Omni Los Angeles Hotel, California Plaza, CA, USA

NEMB will be an opportunity for leading experts to discuss the integration of engineering, materials science and Nanotechnology in addressing fundamental problems in biology and medicine. The confirmed list of plenary speakers can be found on the conference websiteLab on a Chip Editor-in-Chief, Abe Lee will be chairing the conference.

Submit your abstracts before 21st May by following the link to registration portal here.

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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 called “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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