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Game on!

Researchers at Standford University develop multi-level programming language for biotic games using swarms of microorganisms

Computer games are a ubiquitous pastime and a great example of how a single programming language give rise to a myriad of games. But what about biotic games? How could you program biological systems to function in an interactive way? Biotic games are interactive applications that interface biology and computer science for the promotion of science. The Riedel-Kruse Lab at Standford specialize in developing biotic games that use light to control swarms of Euglena gracilis—a phototaxic microorganism that avoids—and can direct, capture, and move whole swarms or individual organisms.

But programming swarms of microorganisms is no easy task. Swarms exhibit collective behaviour and therefore need to be controlled through local context rather than at the individual level. In their recent publication, the Riedel-Kruse Lab developed a set of hierarchical programming abstractions that allows swarms of Euglena within a biological processing unit (BPU; i.e., chip, microscope, and light stimuli) to be programmed in a single and efficient language at the stimulus, swarm, and system levels. At the lowest level, stimulus space programming (which the authors analogize to machine code) allows the programmer to have direct control over the various stimuli (e.g., turn left light on for 3 s), independent of the Euglena. Higher level programming at the swarm and system levels are more general and commands are given in terms of what the user wants the Euglena or system to do. For instance, swarm space commands direct the swarm in different operations such as move, split, and combine. System space commands incorporate conditional statements that can be used to confine a specific number of Euglena to a certain region or to clear Euglena from the field of view, for example.

 

 

While Lam et al. used this new language to program a biotic game, this new language and approach to swarm programming could be generalized for any type of swarm and stimuli. One application could be to program swarms to construct complex structures on the microscale. In future, by increasing access to BPUs through cloud computing and releasing this new programming language it will be possible for hobbyists and researchers alike to write new programs and applications. And maybe this is just the beginning of a revolution like the one ushered in by the release of the personal microcomputer.

 

To download the full article for free* click the link below:

Device and programming abstractions for spatiotemporal control of active micro-particle swarms

Amy T. Lam, Karina G. Samuel-Gama, Jonathan Griffin, Matthew Loeun, Lukas C. Gerber, Zahid Hossain, Nate J. Cira, Seung Ah Lee and Ingmar H. Riedel-Kruse

Lab Chip, 2017,17, 1442-1451

DOI: 10.1039/C7LC00131B

 

*Free to access until 24th May 2017.

 


About the Webwriter

Darius Rackus is finishing his Ph.D. 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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2017 MicroTAS Video Competition

Lab on a Chip is pleased to announce the 2017 MicroTAS Video Competition in partnership with Dolomite Microfluidics and supported by μTAS and Chemical and Biological Microsystems Society (CBMS).

We invite registered μTAS participants to submit short videos (see terms and conditions below) that are either scientifically or educationally focused. Videos may be fun, artistic or just surprising and unusual in order to meet these criteria.

Dolomite Microfluidics, innovators in microfluidic solutions, are sponsoring this competition with the prize of $1500 worth of Dolomite equipment.

If you have an idea for a video that you would like to share with the μTAS community read the entry conditions below!

 

Deadline: 23rd October 2017

 

Terms and Conditions

  • Only participants registered for the MicroTAS conference can take part and submit videos.
  • Videos must be either scientific (demonstrating interesting aspects) or educational (enhancing understanding) with respect to micro- or nanofluidics.
  • Videos can be enhanced by audio, animations, or annotations.
  • Videos should be no longer than 2 minutes with a file size less than 25 Mbytes (please use appropriate video compression).
  • Videos must be viewable on a PC without special software (.mpg, .mp4, .mov, .avi or .wmv).
  • All videos are submitted on the basis that they may be used by LOC and/or CBMS for promotional purposes in any form.
  • Assessment by an international panel of judges will take place at MicroTAS 2017 and the judges’ decision will be final.
  • The prize will be awarded at MicroTAS 2017, and a voucher for the equipment will be presented to the person submitting the winning entry.
  • The video submission deadline is the end of Monday, 23rd October, 2017 (Honolulu, Hawaii, USA time).

 

Video Award Submission Process – Easy 3 Step Process

Step 1. Sign-In to the Electronic Form Using Your Registration Number

Please have your Registration Number accessible. If you are unable to locate your Registration Number, please contact info@microtas2017.org.

Step 2. Fill in information on Electronic Submission Form

Please fill in information on the electronic submission form including title of image and your caption.

Step 3. Upload Your Video

All entries are to be submitted online via this website  as .mpg, .mp4, .mov, .avi or .wmv. Once your entry has been successfully uploaded and submitted, you will be given an entry number and you will be sent a confirmation email with the information you provided, minus the video. The ability to submit a video will close at the end of Monday, 23rd October 2017 (Honolulu, Hawaii, USA time).

Good Luck!

 

Previous winners:

MicroTAS 2016 Conference, Dublin, Ireland
Micropillars Chocolate Cake
Enrica Rollo
EPFL, Switzerland

MicroTAS 2015 Conference, Gyeongju, Korea
Spin Me Right Round

David Kinahan, Ducrée Labs, Dublin City University, Ireland

MicroTAS 2014 Conference, San Antonio, Texas, USA
Magnetotactic Bacteria
Tijmen Hageman, KIST Europe GmbH, Germany

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Pioneers of Miniaturization Lectureship 2017

Lab on a Chip and Dolomite are proud to sponsor the twelfth 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 2017 Conference in Savannah, Georgia, USA 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 extraordinary 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: 15 May 2017

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

  • 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 2017 µTAS Conference

The award is for early to mid-career scientists (maximum 15 years post completion of PhD).

The award is for extraordinary or 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 Microfluidics has grown to be the world leader in the design and manufacture of innovative microfluidic products. Modularity, ease of use and scalability are common to all Dolomite products, which are used across a broad range of applications in biology, drug discovery, chemistry, food, cosmetics and academia. Dolomite is a world leader in Productizing Science™ which means creating marketable and commercially successful products from scientific discovery. Dolomite is a part of the Blacktrace group of companies.

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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Register now for the Flow17 conference on microfluidics

Flow17 will be hosted by Pierre Gilles de Gennes Institute at Pierre-and-Marie-Curie University, Paris on 3rd – 5th July 2017.

 

An excellent scientific program will include three parallel sessions, plenary talks, pitches and a very strong poster exhibition. Among the speakers are Lab on a Chip Editorial Board Member Shoji Takeuchi and Advisory Board Members George Whitesides and Albert Folch. The social program surrounding the sessions should allow for stimulating scientific exchange with your colleagues.

The aim of this three-day international conference is to develop the fundamentals of micro- and nanofluidics by stimulating exchanges within the community, providing them a unique opportunity to meet and be inspired by the exciting applications that are currently driving the field.

 

Main topics will include:

  • Droplets & Emulsion
  • Interface & Wetting
  • Microreactors
  • Nanofluidics
  • Modeling / Numerical Simulation / Theory
  • Cells & Tissues
  • Physicals concepts in technology / Paper microfluidics
  • Fluids transports (actuation & porous)
  • Biological flows

 

IMPORTANT DATES

17th March 2017: Abstract submission closes

24th April 2017: Notification of authors

15th May 2017: Early bird registration


Register now on the Flow17 website.

 

 

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Microfluidics Congress: USA

You are cordially invited to the Microfluidics Congress: USA in Philadelphia on 24th – 26th July 2017. Join our community of leading academics and scientists from biotechnology & pharmaceuticals organizations who are working to transform healthcare by harnessing the developments of these new and overlapping technologies.

Microfluidics is a rapidly developing area of research, and scientists are continually discovering the wide range of possibilities the technology can provide. At the intersection of engineering, physics, chemistry, nanotechnology, and biotechnology, microfluidics is revolutionizing the way patients are diagnosed, monitored and treated, and is unlocking the potential for reduced reagent consumption and thus, cost.


The conference will examine the latest developments in the technologies and techniques being used for progressing medical research, as well as the challenges and future of microfluidics. Registration is now open here.

 

Some of the topics to be covered:


• Point-of-care diagnostics
• Organ-on-a-chip
• Droplet microfluidics
• Microfabrication
• Isolation and analysis of CTCs
• 3D printing of microfluidic devices
• Single-cell analysis
• Commercialization and venture capitalism

 

Keynote speakers will include Lab on a Chip Editor-in-Chief  Abraham Lee and Advisory Board member George Whitesides. See the agenda for further details.



Enhance your itinerary with pre & post event workshops. Lab on a Chip Advisory Board member Holger Becker (microfluidic ChipShop GmbH), will lead a 4 hour workshop on Lab-on-a-Chip technologies as an enabling technology for new product development in diagnostics and the life sciences.

 

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Outstanding Reviewers for Lab on a Chip in 2016

Following the success of Peer Review Week in September 2016 (dedicated to reviewer recognition) during which we published a list of our top reviewers, we are delighted to announce that we will continue to recognise the contribution that our reviewers make to the journal by announcing our Outstanding Reviewers each year.

We would like to highlight the Outstanding Reviewers for Lab on a Chip in 2016, 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.

Professor Guoqing Hu, Institute of Mechanics, Chinese Academy of Sciences
Dr Kosuke Ino, Tohoku University
Professor Daniel Irimia, Harvard Medical School
Dr Sung Jae Kim, Seoul National University
Professor Chang Lu, Virginia Tech
Dr Julien Reboud, University of Glasgow
Dr Kangning Ren, Hong Kong Baptist University
Dr Yu-suke Torisawa, Kyoto Daigaku
Dr Qian Wang, Ohio State University
Dr Edmond Young, University of Toronto

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