Archive for the ‘Board News’ Category

Introducing Editorial Board member David Walt

The fifth Introducing series post is all about new Editorial Board member David Walt. We’re very pleased to welcome David to the board and here he introduces his background and research vision:

David R. Walt is Robinson Professor of Chemistry, Professor of Biomedical Engineering, Professor of Genetics, and Professor of Oral Medicine at Tufts University and is a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Professor.  Dr. Walt is the Founding Scientist of Illumina, Inc. and has been a Director and Chairman of its Scientific Advisory Board since 1998. Dr. Walt is also the Founding Scientist of Quanterix Corporation and has been a Director and Chairman of its Scientific Advisory Board since 2007. He has received numerous national and international awards and honors for his fundamental and applied work in the field of optical sensors and arrays.  Dr. Walt is a member of the Board on Chemical Sciences and Technology of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences. He is a member of the U.S. National Academy of Engineering, American Academy of Arts and Sciences, a fellow of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering, and a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.  He received a B.S. in Chemistry from the University of Michigan and a Ph.D. in Chemical Biology from Stony Brook University

RESEARCH VISION: “The ability to observe single molecules has become routine as a result of improvements in light sources, detectors, signal processing algorithms, and molecular constructs with built-in amplification.  Single molecule studies enable ultra-sensitive measurements.  After all, one cannot measure things more precisely than by counting molecules.  In contrast to bulk measurements, where millions of molecules or more are observed and only an average result can be obtained, single molecule studies provide the ability to observe the heterogeneities within populations, including rare outliers with unusual properties.  Micro and nanofluidics will be critical technologies to confine single molecules in ultra-small volumes to facilitate their observation and detection.   My laboratory focuses on measuring single molecules and single cells.  Our single molecule work spans fundamental enzymology to ultra-sensitive detection of proteins and nucleic acids.  Single cell studies enable us to observe the distribution of cellular activities in a population that may enable us to elucidate how rare cells lead to diseases such as cancer.  We employ a wide range of tools including microarrays, microwells, microspheres, and microfluidics.”
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Introducing Editorial Board member Mark Gilligan

We’re very happy to welcome new Editorial Board member Mark Gilligan in this week’s Introducing series post. He describes his unusual path from aerospace engineering to commercial successes in developing  microfluidics for an ever-increasing range of applications:

Mark studied Aerospace engineering at Cranfield, and after that worked in both Formula 1 for Benetton and Aerospace for BAe Commercial aircraft. Mark then went on to work for Pitney Bowes in the US developing franking machines and Philips in the Netherlands developing the first DVD drives. Then in 1997 Mark moved to work for a technology consulting consultancy called The Technology Partnership (TTP) and started working on the interfaces between Engineering and Life Sciences. One major project at TTP was called Myriad, and involved working in conjunction with seven pharmaceutical companies to develop highly automated robotic systems for parallel chemistry to make potential drug candidates. The outcome of this project was sold to Mettler Toledo and a new business unit was formed and built with Mark leading the R&D of that new company. Once this company was built in 2000, Mark moved into New Ventures for Mettler, investigating and acquiring businesses in automated chemistry.

In 2001 Mark left Mettler Toledo to found Syrris, which has now grown to be a world leader in cutting edge tools and technologies for synthetic chemistry, including microreactors. As Syrris grew, a number of multipurpose microfluidics technologies were developed and an increasingly diverse range of partners sought to access them. This lead to the formation of Dolomite Microfluidics in 2005, which then won a large UK government grant to create a Microfluidic Application Centre. This trend of starting new brands has carried on and now Mark is the CEO of the Blacktrace Group of companies which includes Syrris, Dolomite and a number of other brands which are all collectively focussed on Productisation of Science.

PRACTICAL MICROFLUIDICS: Mark’s interests specifically in microfluidics are around generating practical real world solutions to make microfluidics become an increasingly commercially successful technology. This is about spotting the common issues across multiple application areas and developing underlying technology and componentry to solve these issues. Together with this component focus, Mark is interested in standards around formats and interconnectivity. Mark is application area agnostic, however, microdroplets are currently a strong theme across a number of areas from molecular biology to food and drug delivery. Mark is focussed on providing workable solutions by designing, developing and arranging manufacture, marketing and sales. However, although Dolomite has its own clean rooms for prototyping of devices, Mark’s team works with many other companies for volume manufacture of microfluidic devices.

Overall,  Mark is passionate about getting new capabilities in science and technology to be used by wider and wider audiences by a focus on practical easy to use development into commercially viable products.

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Introducing Editorial Board Member Holger Becker

For the third post in the Introducing series, here we’re very happy to introduce you to Editorial Board member Holger Becker and his research vision, including the development of lab on a chip technology to marketable products:

Dr Holger Becker is co-founder and CSO of microfluidic ChipShop GmbH. He obtained physics degrees from the University of Western Australia/Perth and the University of Heidelberg in 1990 and 1991 respectively. He started to work on miniaturized systems for chemical analysis during his PhD thesis at the Institute for Applied Physics at Heidelberg University, where he obtained his PhD on miniaturized chemical surface acoustic wave (SAW) sensors in 1995. Between 1995 and 1997 he was a Research Associate at the Department of Chemistry at Imperial College in London with Prof. Andreas Manz. In 1998 he joined Jenoptik Mikrotechnik GmbH where he was responsible for the realisation of a polymer-based microfabrication production line. Since then, he founded and led several companies in the field of microsystem technologies in medicine and the life sciences, for which he was nominated for the German Founder’s Prize in 2004. He lead the Industry Group of the German Physical Society between 2004 and 2009, and is the current chair of the SPIE ‘‘Microfluidics, BioMEMS and Medical Microsystems’’ conference as well as co-chair for MicroTAS 2013. Besides serving on the Editorial Board of “Lab-on-a-Chip”, he is a member of the General Advisory Board of MANCEF (Micro and Nanotechnology Commercialization Education Foundation), the expert panel on “Security Research” of the Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology as well as several other advisory boards and is acting as a regular reviewer of project proposals on a national and international level.

 

RESEARCH VISION: As lab-on-a-chip technologies make tremendous progress on their transition from a purely scientific topic to a commercially usable enabling technology, our work in industry concentrates on three main fields: In the area of the design of microfluidic structures, a clear trend towards fully integrated devices, i.e. devices which can perform a complete analytical or diagnostic process from sample input to result output, can be observed. We have over the years developed a microfluidic toolbox which allows a rapid development and validation of such integrated devices. The second field is the development of commercially viable back-end processing technologies. In higher volume production, these processes such as heterogeneous integration of sensors, filters or membranes, assembly, bonding, reagent storage or surface modifications, can make up to 80% of the overall manufacturing cost of a microfluidic device and many solutions which are used by the academic community cannot be scaled to higher volume manufacturing. For a commercial success however, manufacturing cost play a decisive role and research into these processes is therefore vital for the industry. The third field is the adoption of application cases onto a microfluidic platform. In order to run in a miniaturised format, existing protocols and assays have to be modified with respect to reagent composition, volumes, flow rates, timing and other parameters. We have therefore established an application lab with possibilities for processes like biomolecule deposition, reagent lyophilisation, cell culture or real-time PCR to name just a few. In our experience, a successful commercialization of a microfluidic system needs to address all the issues mentioned above in addition to a thorough business planning. It is nice to see that more and more microfluidics-enabled products are making it onto the market.
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Introducing Editoral Board member Helene Andersson Svahn

In the second in our Introducing series, we’re very pleased to introduce Editorial Board member Helene Andersson Svahn to readers of the blog!

Helene Andersson Svahn

Helene Andersson Svahn received her M. Sc. in Molecular Biotechnology from Uppsala University and her Ph. D. in Electrical Engineering at the Royal Institute of Technology in 2001. In 2002-2005 Dr Andersson Svahn was Marketing Director at Silex Microsystems. In 2003 she was selected as member of the ‘TR100: Innovators under 35 who will create the future’ at MIT in USA. In 2005-2008 she was professor in Applied BIOMEMS at MESA+ Research Institute in Holland. In 2006 Prof Andersson Svahn was awarded a prestigious research fellowship from the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences. In 2011-2012 she was the President of the Young Academy of Sweden and she is also a member of The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences. Currently she is heading the Nanobiotechnology division at the Royal Institute of Technology in Sweden and CEO of the startup company Picovitro AB (part time). Her main research focus is micro- and nano-fluidic devices for biotech and medical applications.

RESEARCH VISION: “The Nanobiotechnology group at The Royal Institute of Technology was initiated in 2005 and consists today of approximately 20 people with a wide variety of backgrounds such as electrical engineering, medicine, biotechnology, chemistry and physics creating a very dynamic and interdisciplinary environment. The Nanobiotechnology group is focusing on interdisciplinary research with a focus to combine nanotechnology and microfluidics with various biotechnology and medical applications. In 2013 the research group moved to the Science for Life Laboratory, which is a new national resource center in Sweden devoted to high-throughput bioscience with a focus on health and environment. The aim is that SciLifeLab will become the leading technology-driven national life science center in Europe. By moving into the SciLifeLab, my research group will have closer contacts with biological expertise which in combination with our cutting edge nanotechnology tools can help to maximize the output of these tools. For the future I believe that it is critical for the microfluidics field to develop a common language and understanding with biologists to enable us to shoulder biologically complex and technically demanding challenges.”
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Introducing Editorial Board Member Yoon-Kyoung Cho

In the first of a short series of blog posts introducing the newest members of the Lab on a Chip Editorial Board, here we are very pleased to welcome Yoon-Kyoung Cho:

Yoon-Kyoung Cho received her B.S. and M.S. in Chemical Engineering from POSTECH in South Korea in 1992 and 1994, respectively. She continued her studies in the USA at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) where she received her Ph.D. in Materials Science and Engineering in 1999 under the supervision of Prof. Steve Granick. Following her graduate work at UIUC, she returned to her homeland of South Korea and joined Samsung Advanced Institute of Technology (SAIT) as a senior research scientist. During her nine years at SAIT, she was involved in the research and development of a wide range of lab-on-a-chip technologies for biomedical applications, several of which have made it to the commercial marketplace.

In 2008, she returned to academia as an assistant professor in the school of Nano-Bioscience and Chemical Engineering at the Ulsan National Institute for Science and Technology (UNIST), South Korea and was promoted to associate professor in 2010. Since 2009, she has been the chair of her department and the director of an ambitious and prestigious program, the World Class University (WCU) program, geared to perform international research with leading scientists at UNIST. Her current research interests include novel micro/nano fluidic devices for advanced diagnostics, environmental monitoring, and cell biology. She has had a prolific career in academia and industry, publishing more than 38 scientific papers and 107 registered patents to date. 

Below, Professor Cho shares her views on Lab on a Chip, and the research areas she is working in currently:

RESEARCH VISION: ““Lab on a Chip” is an emerging research area where new discoveries and innovations are realized through multidisciplinary thinking and miniaturization to solve today’s most challenging problems in human health, energy and environment. Beyond the classic definition of a device that can integrates multiple laboratory functions on a small sized chip, Lab on a Chip has advanced the fundamental understanding of biological systems, broadened the basic knowledge on the molecular interactions in nano-scales, and translated into innovative designs and engineering of novel materials, devices and processes in order to provide paradigm-shifting solutions to the complex issues in chemistry, physics, biology and bioengineering. It is expected that there will be more and more examples of Lab on a Chip that go beyond chip-scale test devices and provide real impact in clinics and industry. My research group, under the title of “Integrated Nano-Biotechnology Lab”, in the school of Nano-Bioscience and Chemical Engineering at UNIST, is focused on the development of Lab on a Chip systems with fundamental understanding of bio-molecular interactions and fluidic behavior in micro/nano scales and its smart implementation by utilizing various engineering tools. Current research interests include novel micro/nano fluidic devices for advanced biomedical diagnostics, environmental monitoring and cell biology; e.g., fully integrated lab-on-a-disc for bioanalysis, biosensors using novel nano-materials, and cell chips for the investigation of cell to cell communication in cancer.”
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HOT article: Digital microfluidics for measuring glucose in human blood serum

Hywel Morgan and colleagues at Sharp Laboratories of Europe, the University of Southampton and Sharp Corporation, Japan, demonstrate a large area digital microfluidic array in this HOT article.

Using a thin film transistor (TFT) array rather than the traditional patterned electrodes usually used in electrowetting on dielectric (EWOD) devices, the team developed active matrix electrowetting on dielectric (AM-EWOD) devices. The TFT array enables each of the many thousand electrodes to be individually addressable, and the array is ‘fully reconfigurable and can be programmed to support multiple simultaneous operations’.

Read how the device can be used for measuring glucose in human blood serum in the full article (it’s free to access for four weeks*!):

Programmable large area digital microfluidic array with integrated droplet sensing for bioassays
B. Hadwen, G. R. Broder, D. Morganti, A. Jacobs, C. Brown, J. R. Hector, Y. Kubota and H. Morgan
DOI: 10.1039/C2LC40273D

*Following a simple registration.

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Introducing our new Associate Editor – Dr Jianhua Qin

We at Lab on a Chip are very pleased to announce our newest Associate Editor – Dr Jianhua Qin. Dr Qin is a Professor at the Dalian Institute of Chemical Physics (DICP), Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) and is the director of the Microfluidics Research Center at DICP. She joined the team at Lab on a Chip in July.

Dr Jianhua Qin received her M.D. in Medical Science from the China Medical University and her Ph.D in Chemistry from CAS, respectively. She was a Postdoc fellow at the University of Toronto. Dr Qin’s research interests are focused on the combination of microfluidics and nanotechnologies to understand natural and dysfunctional biomed-systems that lead to the design of novel diagnostic schemes and therapeutic strategies. Dr Qin is a professor at the Dalian Institute of Chemical Physics (DICP), Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) and is the director of the Microfluidics Research Center at DICP.

Below, Dr Qin shares her views on the growth of microfluidics in China:

Microfluidics has emerged as a distinct new field to greatly influence the multidisciplinary research involved in chemistry, engineering, biology, and physics, as well as medicine. During the last two decades, it has been advancing at a rapid pace, and has found a variety of innovative applications worldwide. In China, only in the past decade, an increased number of scientists from different areas have been getting into this active field, leading to the rapid growth of microfluidics (or lab-on-a-chip) in China. During this period, more than 1900 scientific papers have been published in the international journals indexed in Web of Science, where the term “microfluidic” is used as a searching key word. Since 2002, a series of national and international conferences regarding the topics of micro/nanofluidics (or lab-on-a-chip) have been successfully held in China. These research activities cover subject areas including micro-scale fluidic control/principles, microfabrication technologies/methods, chemical synthesis/analysis, and biological/medical systems et al. It is of note that efforts in recent years have moved from simple technological demonstrations to the exploration of practical applications.

The rapidly proliferating status of this research field in China is mainly attributed to the increasing recognization of microfluidic technologies dedicated to healthcare, and the large amount of funding support from the Chinese government and other resources, including the National Natural Science Foundation of China, the Ministry of Science and Technology of China, the Chinese Academy of Sciences, and industries, etc. This input has greatly facilitated the improvement of research facilities, activities and the cultivation of related academic researchers over many universities and research institutes. Certainly, with the rapid progress in fundamental investigations and the technological development of microfluidics in China, more challenges will be faced and addressed in the near future, such as effective strategies to apply existing microfluidics/LOC methodologies to realistic applications and achieve commercialization.

We are delighted to welcome Dr Qin to the Lab on a Chip Editorial Board as Associate Editor and feel that her expertise will help us to further meet the needs of our authors and readers.

If your research falls under Dr Qin’s area of expertise, why not submit your next article to her?

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Introducing our new Editorial Board member – Professor Aaron Wheeler

We at Lab on a Chip are very pleased to announce our newest Editorial Board member – Professor Aaron Wheeler. Professor Wheeler is the Director of the Wheeler Microfluidics Laboratory at the University of Toronto. Below, he explains how he got into microfluidics, the challenges facing the field, and why he’s trying to be a hockey fan…

1. Please tell us a little about your research background.

I did my Ph.D. in chemistry working with Richard “Dick” Zare at Stanford University. I planned to work on projects related to capillary electrophoresis, but shortly after I started, Dick introduced me to a postdoc who was working in the “new” area of microfluidics. A few trips to the cleanroom later, I was hooked, and spent my time at Stanford developing microfluidic methods to analyze the contents of single cells. After completing my Ph.D., I went to work as a postdoc with Robin Garrell at UCLA, where I learned about the technique known popularly as “digital microfluidics” or “electrowetting-on-dielectric (EWOD)”. Robin introduced me to Chang-Jin “CJ” Kim and Joe Loo, and I spent two years having a blast bouncing between those three labs, developing interfaces between microfluidics and mass spectrometry. (Note to students – do a postdoc! This is the most fun you can have as a scientist.) I then began my career as an assistant professor at the University of Toronto, and now I spend most of my time hiding from my colleagues so that I can talk with my students about the fun they are having in the lab.

2. What first got you interested in lab on a chip technology as a research area?

As mentioned previously, a postdoc in my Ph.D. lab, Keisuke Morishima (now a professor at Osaka University), introduced me to microfluidics. The rest, as they say, is history.

3. What do you think the most significant advance in LOC technology has been in the last 5 years?

It is difficult to choose – there have been so many exciting advances. One that sticks out is the method developed by Mehmet Toner and colleagues for extracting rare cells from heterogeneous suspensions. When I speak with scientists outside of the lab-on-a-chip community, this is the topic that comes up most often.

4. What do you think is the biggest challenge facing lab on a chip researchers at the moment?

Our field continues to struggle with the translation of new technologies out of the labs of “microfluidics experts” and into the hands of the end-users.

5. What advice would you give to young researchers just starting their careers?

Be opportunistic! Academic scientists are required to write very detailed predictions of the future (i.e., grants). Good grantsmanship is of course an important skill, but I encourage young researchers to not be fooled into thinking that the science will follow the script! Initial hypotheses are often wrong (or the experiments to explore them turn out to be dull), but interesting phenomena can be found everywhere. Keep your eyes open and be ready to explore new and unexpected observations.

6. If you weren’t a scientist, what would you be doing?

Hmm. I think I would try to be a part of the US National Public Radio show, RadioLab. If you are not a listener, check it out. I am a huge fan.

7. If you could meet anyone from history, who would it be and why?

Difficult question. I think I will go with Charles Darwin. (True story: I once was thrown out of Westminster Abbey by a large priest with a deep, booming voice for trying to make a charcoal rubbing of Darwin’s gravestone.) Darwin was obviously a source of important, transformative ideas, but he was interested in problems big and small. Apparently, he had a great passion for earthworms (!), going as far as to evaluate their behaviour over several decades by sprinkling markers on the ground to measure worm-driven soil turnover rates. I imagine that with some coaxing, a conversation with Mr. Darwin would cover almost any topic under the sun (or under the soil, as the case may be).

8. What’s your favourite sports team?

I grew up in the state of North Carolina, where college basketball is almost a religion. (True story: one day in sixth grade, televisions on media carts were rolled into all of the classrooms, and we spent the day watching the NCAA college basketball tournament instead of learning about fractions or whatever we were supposed to be doing.) So, I was (and am) a fan of the University of North Carolina (UNC) – in my formative years, that team featured Michael Jordan. (Perhaps you have heard of him?) Since coming to Canada, I have tried to become a hockey fan. I would like to be a fan of the Toronto Maple Leafs… but it is much easier to be a fan if your team actually wins some games.

We welcome Professor Wheeler’s expertise to the Board, and look forward to working with him over the coming months.

Professor Wheeler’s recent Lab on a Chip papers include:

Virtual microwells for digital microfluidic reagent dispensing and cell culture
Irwin A. Eydelnant, Uvaraj Uddayasankar, Bingyu ‘Betty’ Li, Meng Wen Liao and Aaron R. Wheeler
Lab Chip, 2012,12, 750-757
DOI: 10.1039/C2LC21004E

A digital microfluidic method for multiplexed cell-based apoptosis assays
Dario Bogojevic, M. Dean Chamberlain, Irena Barbulovic-Nad and Aaron R. Wheeler
Lab Chip, 2012,12, 627-634
DOI: 10.1039/C2LC20893H

A digital microfluidic method for dried blood spot analysis
Mais J. Jebrail, Hao Yang, Jared M. Mudrik, Nelson M. Lafrenière, Christine McRoberts, Osama Y. Al-Dirbashi, Lawrence Fisher, Pranesh Chakraborty and Aaron R. Wheeler
Lab Chip, 2011,11, 3218-3224
DOI: 10.1039/C1LC20524B

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Lab on a Chip Board member and Wyss Institute Founding Director Donald Ingber receives 2011 Holst Medal

Last week the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University awarded its Founding Director and Lab on a Chip Editorial Board member, Donald Ingber, M.D., Ph.D., the 2011 Holst Medal in recognition of his pioneering work exploring the cellular mechanisms that contribute to mechanical control of tissue and organ development, and his groundbreaking development of bioinspired technologies, ranging from organ-on-chip replacements for animal studies, to new engineering approaches for whole organ engineering.

The award was presented on December 16th at the High Tech Campus Eindhoven in the Netherlands during a ceremony at the close of the 2011 Holst Symposium, which focused on integrated heart repair. As the medal winner, Ingber also presented the 2011 Holst Memorial Lecture entitled “From Cellular Mechanotransduction to Organ Engineering.” Starting with an exploration of the role that cell structure and mechanics play in controlling tissue and organ development, Ingber’s lecture extended to provide a more comprehensive overview of his most recent innovations, including development of organ-on-chip microsystems technologies that recapitulate human organ functions, bioinspired materials that promote whole tooth organ formation, and injectable programmable nanotherapeutics that restore blood flow to occluded blood vessels.

“Donald Ingber has made groundbreaking contributions to the understanding of the mechanobiology of cellular behavior,” said Joep Huiskamp, Secretary of the Holst Memorial Lecture Award Committee 2011, on its behalf. “Ingber’s recent development of a breathing lung-on-a-chip concept is an outstanding example of convergent technologies.”

This year’s Holst events were dedicated to the global health issue of heart disease, in recognition of its enormous emotional, medical, economical, and societal implications. The symposium brought together a few select leading international experts, including Wyss Institute core faculty member Kevin Kit Parker, Ph.D., to discuss key facets of heart disease, regeneration, and repair.  Parker’s work on engineering heart tissues recently featured on the Issue 24 cover of Lab on a Chip (see Ensembles of engineered cardiac tissues for physiological and pharmacological study: Heart on a chip).

Donald Ingber, together with Lab on a Chip Chair George Whitesides, will be guest editor of our final 10th Anniversary issue focusing on the USA which has the theme of translating research from the lab to the clinic, to be published next year.

Adapted from the Wyss Institute press release

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Free Lab on a Chip articles in Nature technology feature

Work published in Lab on a Chip features heavily in Nature’s latest Special Technology Feature ‘Tissue models: A living system on a chip‘.

The article, summarising the current state-of-the-art in creating living tissue models on chips, references work from LOC Editorial Board member Donald Ingber (Harvard Medical School) and LOC publications from Michael Shuler (Cornell),  John March (Cornell), Linda Griffith (MIT) and Axel Günther (University of Toronto).

We’ve made these great articles free to access for 2 weeks – why not take a look!

A microfluidic device for a pharmacokinetic–pharmacodynamic (PK–PD) model on a chip
Jong Hwan Sung, Carrie Kam and Michael L. Shuler
Lab Chip, 2010, 10, 446-455

Microscale 3-D hydrogel scaffold for biomimetic gastrointestinal (GI) tract model
Jong Hwan Sung, Jiajie Yu, Dan Luo, Michael L. Shuler and John C. March
Lab Chip, 2010, 11, 389-392

Perfused multiwell plate for 3D liver tissue engineering
Karel Domansky, Walker Inman, James Serdy, Ajit Dash, Matthew H. M. Lim and Linda G. Griffith
Lab Chip, 2010, 10, 51-58

A microfluidic platform for probing small artery structure and function

Axel Günther, Sanjesh Yasotharan, Andrei Vagaon, Conrad Lochovsky, Sascha Pinto, Jingli Yang, Calvin Lau, Julia Voigtlaender-Bolz and Steffen-Sebastian Bolz
Lab Chip, 2010, 10, 2341-2349
From our 2010 Emerging Investigators themed issue

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