Author Archive

Early Career Researcher workshop on Diagnostics for Antimicrobial Resistance

Early Career Researcher workshop on Diagnostics for Antimicrobial Resistance

20 November 2017, London, UK           

Join a diverse delegate list of early career researchers and invited experts to discuss the barriers and opportunities facing the development of rapid diagnostics for infectious disease.

Our speakers include:

  • Jim Huggett LGC & University of Surrey, United Kingdom
  • David H Persing Executive VP, Chief Medical & Technology Officer, Cepheid, United States
  • Bhargavi Rao Médecins Sans Frontières, Switzerland
  • Tim Rawson Imperial College London, United Kingdom
  • Annegret Schneider University College London, United Kingdom
  • Chris Walton Cranfield University, United Kingdom

The main themes identified at this workshop will be shared with various research funders and stakeholders. Don’t miss this chance to discuss some of the exciting developments in diagnostics for AMR and to share your thoughts about how to support early career researchers working in this field.

Register by 6th November to attend!

To find out more and register, please visit: http://rsc.li/diagnostics4AMR

Digg This
Reddit This
Stumble Now!
Share on Facebook
Bookmark this on Delicious
Share on LinkedIn
Bookmark this on Technorati
Post on Twitter
Google Buzz (aka. Google Reader)

Emerging Investigators series – Ian Wong

We are delighted to introduce our latest Lab on a Chip Emerging Investigator – Ian Wong!

Ian Y. Wong is currently an Assistant Professor of Engineering and of Medical Science at Brown University. He completed an A.B. in Applied Mathematics from Harvard University in 2003, Ph.D. in Materials Science and Engineering with Nick Melosh at Stanford University in 2010, and postdoctoral training at Massachusetts General Hospital with Mehmet Toner and Daniel Irimia in 2013. He has been recognized with an NSF Graduate Research Fellowship, a Damon Runyon Cancer Research Fellowship, the Brown University Pierrepont Prize for Outstanding Advising, as well as a Biomaterials Science Emerging Investigator. His research interests include the development of miniaturized technologies to investigate cancer cell invasion, phenotypic plasticity and drug resistance. Moreover, his group engineers unconventional fabrication techniques for printing and patterning nano/bio materials.

Read his Emerging Investigators paper “Stereolithographic printing of ionically-crosslinked alginate hydrogels for degradable biomaterials and microfluidics“, watch the associated video and find out more about his research in the interview below:

Your recent Emerging Investigator Series paper focuses on stereolithographic printing of ionically-crosslinked alginate hydrogels. How has your research evolved from your first article to this most recent article?

I give complete credit to my graduate student, Tom Valentin, who came up with this approach to light-based 3D printing via ionic crosslinking – and then actually got it to work. In retrospect, my Ph.D. thesis focused on biomolecular self-assembly based on ionic interactions, so it’s serendipitous that my current research has circled back to some of these concepts.

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

My lab integrates biomaterials, microfluidics, and computer vision to investigate cancer cell migration and drug resistance. Our first few papers set down the foundations for these different technologies, but now we’re starting to put these pieces together to gain some fascinating insights into cancer biology.

 In your opinion, what is the biggest advantage of stereolithographic printing of hydrogels over other printing techniques?

 Conventional light-based 3D printing of soft materials is based on covalent crosslinking, which results in strong but irreversible bonds. Our demonstration of light-based patterning using reversible ionic crosslinks should enable smart and “biomimetic” properties such as self-healing and stimuli-responsiveness. These properties have been previously demonstrated in bulk hydrogels, but remain relatively nascent for 3D printed structures.

What do you find most challenging about your research?

I work at the interface of engineering and cancer biology, and I find that it takes a lot of effort to bridge between these two communities and become fluent in both disciplines. Moreover, there are twice as many things that can go wrong with the experiments! Nevertheless, it has been extremely worthwhile to see how our technologies could potentially make an immediate and highly meaningful impact.

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

I will be attending BMES this October in Phoenix, AZ.

How do you spend your spare time?

Whenever possible, I enjoy dining out with my wife. I also enjoy cycling, which helps to burn off all those calories

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

I’ve always been interested in entrepreneurship, and this is something I will likely revisit once my lab and technologies become more established.

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

Early career scientists are constantly pulled in many directions and have limited time to commit to anything. Nevertheless, I try my best to spend a lot of time with my students and postdocs early on. Such mentoring helps trainees transition towards independence and can also catch problems before they become serious, so it is incredibly worthwhile in the long run.

Digg This
Reddit This
Stumble Now!
Share on Facebook
Bookmark this on Delicious
Share on LinkedIn
Bookmark this on Technorati
Post on Twitter
Google Buzz (aka. Google Reader)

Emerging Investigators series – Steve Shih

We are delighted to introduce our latest Lab on a Chip Emerging Investigator – Steve Shih!

Steve Shih completed his BASc in Electrical Engineering from Toronto and then went to University of Ottawa to complete his Master’s degree in Chemistry. He then returned to Toronto to complete his Ph.D in Biomedical Engineering in Aaron Wheeler’s laboratory.  He then spent two years at UC Berkeley and at the Joint BioEnergy Institute (JBEI) as a postdoctoral researcher and worked closely with collaborators Jay Keasling and Nathan Hillson.  He learned pathway engineering of microbes for biofuel production using synthetic biology tools and published four papers related to this research.  As of January 2016, he became an Assistant Professor at Concordia University in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering with appointments in the Department of Biology and the Center for Applied Synthetic Biology.  His current research entails combining new microfluidic platforms with synthetic biological tools to solve challenges in the health, energy, and medical fields.

Read his Emerging Investigators paper “Image-based Feedback and Analysis System for Digital Microfluidics” and find out more about his research in the interview below:

Your recent Emerging Investigator Series paper focuses on an image-based feedback system for digital microfluidics How has your research evolved from your first article to this most recent article?

Wow it has evolved immensely! I started off as a naïve graduate student dabbling in the field of NMR and using that technique to determine structures of membrane proteins. My first paper described how we used computational and experimental techniques to optimize the determination of membrane protein structures. I learned so much in the field of chemistry and molecular biology, especially coming from an engineering background.

Now my research is in microfluidics and I am using this technique to solve some challenging biological problems.  Although the topics are completely different – the techniques that I learned previously has helped to find interesting solutions to engineering problems.  I am always excited to dabble in new and exciting fields and integrating traditional fields with the new.

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

I just recently started my lab and there are so many exciting new projects. My lab is currently working on integrating microfluidics and automating processes related to synthetic biology. Synthetic biology has evolved towards engineering new organisms to produce vast quantities of valuable products, such as biorenewable fuels. This promise (and among many others) has been inspired by biologists that believe genetic engineering of biological cells can be more like the engineering of any hardware. However, challenges loom at multiple steps in the process and our lab is using microfluidics that will overcome these (or least some) challenges.

In your opinion, what is the biggest advantage of this technology and how will this impact digital microfluidics?

I am very excited about this paper because it is the first time that imaging techniques for feedback has been applied to digital microfluidics. One of the biggest challenges with digital microfluidics is the reliability of droplet movement – i.e. an application of a potential does not always equate to a droplet movement. This problem is exacerbated when we are multiplexing droplet movement – more droplets will fail during operation. We have developed a method in which we can individually detect all the droplets on the device using image-based techniques. This is a huge advantage since we only require applying a feedback mechanism to only those droplets that failed in movement while it does not delay the movement of other droplets that translated successfully on the device. This optimizes the time a droplet rests on an electrode and can minimize other effects that prevent droplet movement (e.g., biofouling).

What do you find most challenging about your research?

Everything, but this is why I love my inter-disciplinary research field since it involves so many different aspects. Some examples are trying to understand the underlying mechanisms of breast cancer to resolving issues of integrating synthetic biology techniques at the microscale.

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

I will be attending MicroTAS this year in Savannah and two of my students will be presenting posters. I will also be attending the 4BIO gene editing and synthetic biology conference at London, UK in December, where I will be giving a talk to describe some our microfluidic work with synthetic biology.

How do you spend your spare time?

Spare time is so rare among new professors. But I spend most of my time chasing my kids and trying to excite them for what is to come…

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

This is a tough question. I really love my job as an educator and everything else that comes with it. But if I had to choose something else, I think I would be a sports broadcaster on ESPN. I love sports and I am an avid fan of tennis and basketball. It would be my dream to commentate a Roger Federer game or to call a Toronto Raptors game.

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

Failure is inevitable. I failed so many times during my career and it is all part of the learning process. Young scientists should embrace failure and learn as much as they can from it – don’t be afraid of it! They do not realize that failure is where new innovation and ideas come from. I definitely would not be where I am today if it was not for failure.

Digg This
Reddit This
Stumble Now!
Share on Facebook
Bookmark this on Delicious
Share on LinkedIn
Bookmark this on Technorati
Post on Twitter
Google Buzz (aka. Google Reader)

Personalised Medicine: Liquid Biopsy

We are delighted to announce our latest Thematic Collection in Lab on a Chip – Personalised Medicine: Liquid Biopsy!

This collection is being lead by Thought Leaders Stefanie Jeffrey and Mehmet Toner.

Stefanie Jeffrey, MD, is the John and Marva Warnock Professor and Chief of Surgical Oncology Research in the Department of Surgery at Stanford University School of Medicine. Her lab focuses on technology development and applications related to liquid biopsy (CTCs, ctDNA, extracellular vesicles), droplet-based microfluidic platforms, and preclinical models for testing new cancer therapies.

Mehmet Toner, PhD, is a member of the faculty at the Center for Engineering in Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital. Dr. Toner is motivated by multi-disciplinary problems at the interface of engineering and life sciences. In the fields of microfluidics/micro-engineering/cancer he is working on microfluidics in biology and medicine including microfluidic blood processing, developing a microchip to help sort rare cells and integration of living cells and micro-engineered tissue units into micro-devices.

Liquid Biopsy, coined by Pantel and Alix-Panabières in 2010, originally referred to real-time analyses of CTCs in cancer. However, that term has since expanded to encompass the analyses of many other disease-related substances found in blood and other body fluids. Our goal is to highlight the new advances in this growing field with an emphasis on the interface between the technological advancements and high impact applications of liquid biopsy technologies. These would include manuscripts related to components that can be captured or characterized from blood such as circulating tumour cells, circulating nucleic acids and circulating extracellular vesicles.

Interested in submitting to the collection?

If you are interested in submitting to the personalised medicine: liquid biopsy collection, please contact the Lab on a Chip Editorial Office at loc-rsc@rsc.org  and provide a title and abstract of your proposed submission.

Articles will be published as they are accepted and collated into an online Thematic Collection, which will receive extensive promotion. Read the collection so far – http://rsc.li/liquid-biopsy 

Submissions for this collection are open from 1st September 2017 to 30th June 2018

Digg This
Reddit This
Stumble Now!
Share on Facebook
Bookmark this on Delicious
Share on LinkedIn
Bookmark this on Technorati
Post on Twitter
Google Buzz (aka. Google Reader)

Emerging Investigator Series – Leidong Mao

We are delighted to bring you the first interview for our Emerging Investigators Series in Lab on a Chip!

Leidong Mao is currently an Associate Professor and a distinguished faculty fellow in the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering of College of Engineering at the University of Georgia, USA. He received his B.S. degree in Materials Science from Fudan University, China in 2001 and his Ph.D. degree in Electrical Engineering from Yale University, USA in 2008. He was a recipient of the Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) award from the US National Science Foundation in 2012, and the Young Scientist Award at the international conference on magnetic fluids in 2013. His current research interests include developing novel microfluidic technologies for biology and biomedical sciences. Examples of the projects in his lab include label-free cell separation technology that can isolate extremely rare circulating tumor cells from patient blood for cancer research and clinical applications, studies of circadian rhythm of single cells and their mechanism of synchronization, and diseases-on-chip models such as stroke-on-a-chip and glioma-on-a-chip. In addition to the research activities, he developed an interdisciplinary research and education program since 2014 for undergraduate students in nanotechnology and biomedicine, through a Research Experiences for Undergraduate (REU) grant from the US National Science Foundation.

Read his Emerging Investigators paper Label-free ferrohydrodynamic cell separation of circulating tumor cells and find out more about his research below:

Your recent Emerging Investigator Series paper focuses on the separation of circulating tumour cells. How has your research evolved from your first article to this most recent article?

My first paper as a graduate student studied the mechanism of ferrofluid actuation under a traveling magnetic field through modeling and simulation. On the surface, there seems to be a drastic change between the first paper and this recent paper. However, there was similar thinking behind these two projects – building models and systematic optimization were valued in both cases. Nonetheless, this recent paper involved a lot of cancer research, thanks to my fantastic collaborators.

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

Circulating tumor cells (CTCs) are very interesting to study but difficult to isolate. I am excited about the high recovery rate and biocompatibility of our technology, and the prospect that it may be integrated with other technologies for a more efficient way to separate intact CTCs from patient blood.

In your opinion, what is the biggest challenge for the separation of CTCs from blood?

This is a complex problem. High throughput, high recovery rate, high purity and excellent biocompatibility are four important criteria in CTC separation. Being able to meet all four criteria is challenging for a single technology, whether it is label-based or label-free.

What do you find most challenging about your research?

Learning biology as an engineer. For me, it is challenging but fun.

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

Microtas 2017 in Savannah Georgia, USA

How do you spend your spare time?

Spending time with my family.

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

Never a question to me, this is what I wanted to do.

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

It helped me a lot when I started as an Assistant Professor to have a few highly motivated graduate students.

 

Digg This
Reddit This
Stumble Now!
Share on Facebook
Bookmark this on Delicious
Share on LinkedIn
Bookmark this on Technorati
Post on Twitter
Google Buzz (aka. Google Reader)

Droplet-Based Single-Cell Sequencing

We are pleased to announce the latest Thematic Collection in Lab on a ChipDroplet-Based Single-Cell Sequencing!

We are delighted that Lab on a Chip Advisory Board member David A Weitz (Harvard University, USA) is Thought Leader of this collection!

The field of droplet-based single-cell sequencing field has made increasing advances in recent years. Large numbers of studies are underway to collect and explore the new information that is now accessible with single-cell RNA-seq. Improvements to microfluidics are advancing rapidly and extensions to other sequencing methods are also being developed, enabling investigations to probe information beyond mRNA alone. This has rapidly become a burgeoning field, where microfluidic techniques are essential and where droplet-based microfluidics has enabled a major advance.

For more context, please read the editorials “Perspective on droplet-based-single cell sequencing” by David Weitz and “InDrops and Drop-seq technologies for single-cell sequencing” by Allon Klein and Evan Macosko.

The goal of this collection is to highlight the new advances in this growing field, with an emphasis on the interface between the technological advancements and high impact applications of droplet-based single-cell sequencing.

Interested in submitting to the collection?

If you are interested in contributing to the droplet-based single-cell sequencing collection, please get in touch with the Lab on a Chip Editorial Office at loc-rsc@rsc.org and provide a title and abstract of your proposed submission.

Articles will be published as they are accepted and collated into an online Thematic Collection, which will receive extensive promotion.

Submissions for this collection are open from 15th July 2017 to 30th April 2018 

Digg This
Reddit This
Stumble Now!
Share on Facebook
Bookmark this on Delicious
Share on LinkedIn
Bookmark this on Technorati
Post on Twitter
Google Buzz (aka. Google Reader)

Meet our new Advisory Board members!

Oscar Ces is a Professor in Chemistry at Imperial College London, UK. He is a leading specialist in soft condensed matter, chemical biology, microfluidics, artificial cells, single cell analysis and lipid membrane mechanics.
 Daniel Irimia is an Associate Professor of Surgery and Deputy Director of the BioMEMS Resource Center at the Center for Engineering in Medicine (CEM) at Massachusetts General Hospital, USA. He is an internationally recognized expert in bioengineered microsystems for cellular chemotaxis and other functional assays.
  Sunghoon Kwon is an Associate Professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Seoul National University, South Korea. His research interests include optofluidic nanofabrication, BioMEMS, bioengineering, biophotonics, ultrasmall laser projection display, and human computer interfaces.
   Weihua Li is a Senior Professor for the School of Mechanical, Materials and Mechatronic Engineering at Wollongong University, Australia. His research focuses on magnetorheological (MR) fluids and MR elastomers and their applications, dynamics and vibration control, microfluidics and nanofluidics and lab on a chip.
  Chwee Teck Lim is a NUSS professor in the Department of Biomedical Engineering at the National University of Singapore. His research focuses on human disease biomechanics & mechanobiology, microfluidic technologies for disease detection, diagnosis and therapy and 2D materials for biomedical applications.
Nam-Trung Nguyen is Director of the Queensland Micro- and Nanotechnology Centre at Griffith University, Australia. His research is focused on microfluidics, nanofluidics, micro/nanomachining technologies, micro/nanoscale science, and instrumentation for biomedical applications.
David Sinton is a Professor and Canada Research Chair in Microfluidics and Energy at the University of Toronto. His research involves the study and application of small scale fluid mechanics (microfluidics, nanofluidics, and optofluidics) for use in energy systems and analysis.
  Hongkai Wu is Associate Professor for the Microfluidics Group at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. His research focuses on the interdisciplinary frontiers of microfluidics, bioanalytical science and materials chemistry.
  Chaoyong James Yang is a Professor in Chemical Biology at Xaimen University, China. His current research centers on microfluidics, molecular recognitions, DNA self-assembly and early diagnosis of cancer.
  Roland Zengerle is the Head of Laboratory for MEMS Applications and co-director of Hahn-Schickard at the University of Freiburg, Germany. He specializes in lab-on-a-chip systems, contact-free microdosage technologies and applications, miniaturized and implantable drug delivery systems, analysis and modeling of porous electrodes in batteries and fuel cells and biofuel cells.
Digg This
Reddit This
Stumble Now!
Share on Facebook
Bookmark this on Delicious
Share on LinkedIn
Bookmark this on Technorati
Post on Twitter
Google Buzz (aka. Google Reader)

Organ-, Body- and Disease-on-a-Chip Thematic Collection

We are pleased to announce Lab on a Chip‘s first Thematic Collection in 2017, Organ-, Body- and Disease-on-a-Chip!

We are delighted to announce that Michael Shuler (Cornell University, USA) will be acting as Thought Leader for this collection. His research focuses on “Body-on-a-Chip” devices applied to evaluate different treatments for cancer, such as multi-drug resistant cancer. Read Michael Shuler’s recent Editorial for more information.

An emerging area of interest for drug development over the last 13 years has been constructing human biomimetic systems by combining the techniques of microfabrication and tissue engineering. In this collection, we define an “Organ-on-a-Chip” as a physical microscale model (typically an order of 10−6 to 10−4 of actual size) of a particular human organ.

The questions we aim to address in this collection are whether these emerging technologies will improve both drug development and the regulation of human exposure to chemicals. What technical challenges remain? What will be the most effective way to utilize this emerging technology? Can this technology lead to cost effective, measurable improvements in human health? Our goal is to highlight the new advances in this growing field with an emphasis on the interface between the technological advancements and high impact applications of organ-, body- and disease-on-a-chip technologies.

Interested in submitting to the collection? 

If you are interested in submitting to the series, please get in touch with the Lab on a Chip Editorial Office at loc-rsc@rsc.org and and provide a title and abstract of your proposed submission.

Articles will be published as they are accepted and collated into an online Thematic Collection, which will receive extensive promotion. Read the collection so far – rsc.li/organonachip

Submissions to this collection are open between 1st July 2017 and 31st March 2018

Digg This
Reddit This
Stumble Now!
Share on Facebook
Bookmark this on Delicious
Share on LinkedIn
Bookmark this on Technorati
Post on Twitter
Google Buzz (aka. Google Reader)

Pioneers of Miniaturization Lectureship 2017

We are delighted to announce that Aaron Wheeler is 2017 winner of the “Pioneers of Miniaturization” Lectureship!

The 12th “Pioneers of Miniaturization” Lectureship, sponsored by Dolomite and Lab on a Chip , is for early to mid-career scientists who have made extraordinary or outstanding contributions to the understanding or development of miniaturised systems.

This “Pioneers of Miniaturization” Lectureship will be presented to Aaron at the µTAS 2017 Conference in Georgia, USA on 22-26 October 2017. Aaron will receive a certificate, a monetary award and will give a short lecture during the conference.

Many congratulations to Professor Aaron Wheeler on this achievement from the Lab on a Chip!

 

About the Winner

Aaron Wheeler earned his PhD in Chemistry at Stanford University in 2003. After a postdoctoral fellowship at UCLA, he joined the faculty at the University of Toronto in 2005, with primary appointment in the Department of Chemistry and cross-appointments in the Institute for Biomaterials and Biomedical Engineering and the Donnelly Centre for Cellular and Biomolecular Research.

Professor Wheeler has been recognized with a number of honours including the E.W.R. Steacie Memorial Fellowship from the Canadian National Sciences and Engineering Research Council, the Arthur F. Findeis Award from the American Chemical Society, and the Joseph Black Award from the Royal Society of Chemistry. He has authored more than 100 peer-reviewed publications and has served as Associate Editor of Lab on a Chip since 2013.

Wheeler’s research group develops microfluidic tools to solve problems in chemistry, biology, and medicine. A key technology used by the group is digital microfluidics  (DMF), a technique in which fluidic droplets are manipulated on the surface of an array of electrodes coated with a hydrophobic insulator. In recent years DMF has matured into a highly enabling liquid-handling technology which has a strong foothold in several fields ranging from chemical synthesis to clinical sample analysis to tissue engineering.

Learn about the Wheeler group online http://microfluidics.utoronto.ca/ or on twitter at @Wheeler_Lab.

Digg This
Reddit This
Stumble Now!
Share on Facebook
Bookmark this on Delicious
Share on LinkedIn
Bookmark this on Technorati
Post on Twitter
Google Buzz (aka. Google Reader)

VIII International Congress on Analytical Nanoscience and Nanotechnology

The VIII International Congress on Analytical Nanoscience and Nanotechnology will be taking place in Barcelona, Spain on 3-5th July 2017. The aim of the conference is to bring together scientists working in the field of analytical nanoscience and nanotechnology to show their recent findings with interest for various applications.

The conference offers looks set to have a great program, including Plenary lectures from Advisory Board members Yoshinobu Baba (Nagoya University, Japan) and Anja Boisen (DTU, Denmark). Session topics include:

  • Lab on a Chip and Nanotechnology
  • Nanobiosensors: Sensors and Biosensors based on nanomaterials and nanostructures
  • Reliability and commercialization opportunities of Nanotechnological & Analytical Chemistry systems
  • Analysis at nanoscale

Register today to confirm you place!

Digg This
Reddit This
Stumble Now!
Share on Facebook
Bookmark this on Delicious
Share on LinkedIn
Bookmark this on Technorati
Post on Twitter
Google Buzz (aka. Google Reader)