Art in Science Competition Winner Announced at MicroTAS 2015

Lab on a Chip and the National Institute of Standards Technology (NIST) were pleased to present the Art in Science award titled “Under the Looking Glass: Art from the World of Small Science” at the µTAS 2015 Conference.

The award highlights the aesthetic value in scientific illustrations while still conveying scientific merit. Many fantastic submissions were received this year with the winner selected by a panel of senior scientists who attended the conference.

And the winner is…

“Through Warhol’s eyepiece” photographed by Matteo Cornaglia, Laboratory of Microsystems, EPFL, Switzerland.

The winning artwork, “Through Warhol’s eyepiece” photographed by Matteo Cornaglia from the Laboratory of Microsystems, EPFL in Switzerland, was created by on-chip multi-dimensional imaging of C.elegans embryogenesis as observed through an Andy Warhol microscope, equipped with a 63x oil immersion objective and a pop art optical filter. For the first time, automated longitudinal studies of C.elegans embryos are made possible by microfluidics. For this artwork, 20 embryos are isolated from an on-chip worm culture upon egg laying and transferred into dedicated micro-incubators for long-term time-lapse imaging of the whole population at single-organism resolution. Each colour corresponds to a different instant of the same population development.

And the runners up are…

“Reflections of micro-ocean escaping” photographed by Maoxiang Guo, KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Sweden.

A tiny drop of liquid is encapsulated in a polymer microwell, covered with thin gold film. As the device is heated, the liquid is expanding, creating a bulge in the gold film, stress and ripples in the rest of the gold sheet.

“Microparticle Microgalaxy” photographed by Ghulam Destgeer, Department of Mechanical Engineering (KAIST), South Korea.

Microparticles are manipulated inside a sessile droplet of water placed on top of a vibrating acoustofluidic platform. Surface acoustic waves leaking into the water drive the concentration of the larger diameter (yellow) particles while smaller (blue) particles remain scattered in the background. The particles resembles stars spread in a celestial galaxy.

A big thank you to all the contributors this year.

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“Spin me right round” wins the 2015 MicroTAS Video Competition

Lab on a Chip and Dolomite Microfluidics are pleased to announce Dan Kirby and the Ducrée Lab, Dublin City University the winner of the 2015 µTAS Video Competition supported by the Chemical and Biological Microsystems Society (CBMS).

At the µTAS conference in October 2015 Lab on a Chip Executive Editor, Sarah Ruthven (right) and Dolomite Microfluidics Group Chief Executive Officer, Mark Gilligan (left) presented Dan Kirby (centre) with the award and a $2500 gift certificate to spend on Dolomite equipment.

Registered µTAS participants were invited to submit short videos with a scientific or educational focus. Videos could be fun, artistic or just surprising and unusual to be in contention for the prize. The winners, the Ducrée Lab, produced a video titled “Spin me right round” focussing on centrifugal microfluidics. They recreated a classic 80’s music video in the lab to highlight the new areas of research in lab-on-a-disc platforms. They hope that viewers enjoy the “new spin” they have put on biomedical diagnostics!

Thank you very much to all the participants for submitting such high quality entries.

Congratulations to the Ducrée Lab!

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Microscopic pumps made from trapped bacteria

A Lab on a Chip article highlighted in Chemistry World by Cesar Palmero

Scientists in China have trapped bacteria in 3D-printed structures and used them to pump materials along customised paths.

Transporting materials in the microscopic world is complex. Conventionally, macroscopic pumps drive motion, but pumps are bulky and not ideal for miniaturisation. Now, Hepeng Zhang and colleagues at Shanghai Jiao Tong University have tackled this problem using native inhabitants of the microscopic world – motile bacteria. Not only are they already present in the media, but their energy conversion efficiency is estimated to be greater than existing man-made micro-motors.

Please visit Chemistry World to read the full article.

Using confined bacteria as building blocks to generate fluid flow
Zhiyong Gao, He Li, Xiao Chen and H. P. Zhang
Lab Chip, 2015, Advance Article
DOI: 10.1039/C5LC01093D

*Access is free through a registered RSC account until 10 December 2015 – click here to register
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A new ‘on-chip’ immunoassay device

an article by Claire Weston, PhD student at Imperial College London

Professor Yarmash’s lab at Rutgers University have developed a proof of concept microfluidic device, capable of running multiple immunoassays in parallel. The device allows 32 samples to be assayed simultaneously and multiple analytes can be tested in each sample.

As shown in the diagram below, each sample inlet has a bead trap that contains antibody-conjugated microbeads. These are commercially available, allowing virtually any analyte to be tested. The sample flows over the beads at an optimised rate, allowing the analytes to bind to their specific antibodies. A secondary antibody is added that binds to antibodies complexed to analytes, followed by a fluorescent tag that binds to the secondary antibody. The microbeads are then collected, placed in a 96 well plate, and analysed.

a) diagram and b) photo of the device; c) diagram of valve configuration and flow pathways during the assay; d) key steps in assay.

Device layout and assay principle

The authors assayed several proteins from an in vitro supernatant and their results corroborated well with a standard benchtop immunoassay. Compared to the benchtop standard, the device has significantly reduced sample consumption as well as large reductions in microbead and detection antibody consumption. It has comparable sensitivity to the benchtop standard and has a large working range, meaning that analytes present at different concentrations in the sample can be measured simultaneously. In addition to this, it is compatible with commercial reagents and analyte concentration can be quantified. Although previously published devices have addressed some of these characteristics, this the first example where they are combined into one device.

Moving on from their proof-of-concept study, the Yarmash group hopes to develop a device capable of in vivo measurements. One example they give is analysis of cerebrospinal fluid in rats, an important animal model in Alzheimer’s research, where immunoassays are currently limited by the small volumes available.


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

Development and validation of a microfluidic immunoassay capable of multiplexing parallel samples in microliter volumes
Mehdi Ghodbane, Elizabeth C. Stucky, Tim J. Maguire, Rene S. Schloss, David I. Shreiber, Jeffrey D. Zahn and Martin L. Yarmush
Lab Chip
, 2015,15, 3211-3221
DOI:
10.1039/C5LC00398A

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About the webwriter

Claire Weston is a PhD student in the Fuchter Group, at Imperial College London. Her work is focused on developing novel photoswitches and photoswitchable inhibitors.

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*Access is free until 19/11/2015 through a registered RSC account – click here to register

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Microfluidic device lets the drop beat

A Lab on a Chip article highlighted in Chemistry World by Christopher Barnard

Scientists in Switzerland have incorporated pulsing human heart tissue into a microfluidic device to make a miniscule model of a living system that could be used to test new drugs.

The hanging drops are connected through 200μm-wide channels

‘This is one of the most interesting recent developments in the field of microfluidic systems,’ comments Wouter van der Wijngaart, who heads up the research into micro- and nanofluidic systems at the KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Sweden. ‘This type of system has the potential to become the de facto workhorse in the field of 3D microtissue culturing.’

Please visit Chemistry World to read the full article.

Adding the ‘heart’ to hanging drop networks for microphysiological multi-tissue experiments*
Saeed Rismani Yazdi, Amir Shadmani, Sebastian C. Bürgel, Patrick M. Misun, Andreas Hierlemann and Olivier Frey
Lab Chip, 2015, Advance Article
DOI: 10.1039/C5LC01000D

*Access is free through a registered RSC account until 19 November 2015 – click here to register

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“Pioneers of Miniaturization” Lectureship 2015

Dino Di Carlo is the winner of the “Pioneers of Miniaturization” Lectureship 2015

Lab on a Chip and Corning Incorporated are delighted to announce that Professor Dino Di Carlo is the winner of the 2015 “Pioneers of Miniaturization” Lectureship.

The 10th “Pioneers of Miniaturization” Lectureship, sponsored by Lab on a Chip and Corning Incorporated and supported by the Chemical and Biological Microsystems Society (CBMS), 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 Professor Di Carlo at the µTAS 2015 Conference in Gyeongju, Korea, 25-29 October 2015. Professor Di Carlo will receive a certificate, a monetary award and will give a short lecture.

About the winner

Professor Di Carlo received his B.S. in Bioengineering from the University of California, Berkeley in 2002 and received a Ph.D. in Bioengineering from the University of California, Berkeley and San Francisco in 2006.

Professor Di Carlo is currently a Professor in the Department of Bioengineering at the University of California, Los Angeles, USA. Professor Di Carlo’s current research aims to exploit unique physics, microenvironment control and the potential for automation associated with miniaturized systems for applications in basic biology, medical diagnostics, material fabrication and cellular engineering.

Among other honours and awards, Professor Di Carlo has been awarded the National Science Foundation (NSF) Faculty Early Career Development award and the U.S. Office of Naval Research (ONR) Young Investigator Award in 2012, the Packard Fellowship for Science and Engineering and Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) Young Faculty Award in 2011, and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Director’s New Innovator Award and Coulter Translational Research Award in 2010.

For more details on Professor Di Carlo’s research please visit his lab homepage.

Many congratulations to Prof. Di Carlo on this achievement from the Lab on a Chip team

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2015 MicroTAS Video Competition

Get your entries in before the deadline on 26th October 2015!

Lab on a Chip is proud to announce the second μTAS Video Competition, created in partnership with Dolomite Microfluidics and supported by the CBMS (the Chemical and Biological Microsystems Society).

We invite registered μTAS participants to submit short videos (see full conditions of entry 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 supporting this competition with $2500 worth of Dolomite equipment as the prize.

If you think you have the necessary visual science to take home the prize, have a read of the entry conditions below!

Deadline: 26th October 2015

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 microtas2015@hdasan.com.

Step 2. Fill in Remaining Information on Electronic Submission Form

Please fill in remaining 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. Entries will not be accepted by email or post. 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 an video will close Monday,26 October 2015 at 23:59 Honolulu, Hawaii, USA time (HST. GMT minus 10 hours).


Guidelines:

1. Only participants registered for the MicroTAS conference can take part and submit videos

2. Videos must be either scientific (demonstrating interesting aspects) or educational (enhancing understanding) with respect to micro- or nanofluidics

3. Videos can be presented in a fun way

4. Videos can be presented in an artistic way

5. Videos can be presented in a surprising or unusual way

6. Videos can be enhanced by audio, animations, or annotations, if necessary

7. Videos should be no longer than 2 minutes each

8. Videos should have a file size less than 25 Mbytes (please use appropriate video compression)

9. Videos must be viewable on a PC without special software (.mpg, .mp4, .mov, .avi or .wmv)

10. Videos can be uploaded between July 25 and October 26, 2015

11. All submissions are submitted on the basis that they may be used by LOC and/or CBMS for promotional purposes in any form

12. Assessment by an international panel of judges will take place at MicroTAS 2015. The judges’ decision will be final, and no discussion will be entertained.

13. The prize will be awarded at MicroTAS 2015, and a written voucher for the equipment will be handed over to the person submitting the winning entry.

Finally, just for a bit of inspiration, here’s a classic Lab on a Chip video from our YouTube channel…enjoy!


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New method for studying microalgal growth

an article by Claire Weston, PhD student at Imperial College London

The device

The study and optimisation of microalgal growth is a hot topic at the moment due to the use of microalgae in many industrial processes, as well as its potential use as biofuel. Previously, I have written about a Lab on a Chip article from the Sinton lab on optimising microalgal growth by varying irradiance conditions.

Now Mingming Wu’s group, from Cornell University, have published an article focused on the effect of nitrogen concentration on cell growth rates. Wu has developed a platform based on agarose gel, as shown in the diagram. The nutrient media can flow through this gel while the cells can’t, maintaining separate microhabitats.

The authors decided to study the effect of nitrogen concentration gradients on the microalgae (C. reinhardtii), using ammonium as the nitrogen source. Nitrogen is essential for microalgae, as it is required for protein and nucleic acid synthesis, and ammonium is the preferred source for this particular strain.

An ammonium gradient was obtained by flowing ammonium-containing media through the source channel, and ammonium-free media through the sink channel (diagram C). As expected, increasing the concentration (within the micromolar range) increased the microalgal growth rates. Fluorescence imaging allowed the authors to quantify the growth kinetics using the Monod equation (similar to the Michaelis-Menten equation for enzyme kinetics). This is the first time this has been achieved for this particular microalgal strain with nitrogen concentration as the variable.

Another interesting find was that when the microalgae were subjected to millimolar ammonium concentrations, growth inhibition was seen. The standard medium for microalgae contains 7.5 mM ammonium, so these results suggest that these concentrations need to be reduced by several orders of magnitude in order to maximise growth rates!

Wu and co-workers have nicely demonstrated the capablilty of their agarose-based platform in quantifying growth kinetics and they highlight that it is 50-fold faster, and more cost effective, than the standard chemostat system. They also observed cell heterogeneity during their experiments and plan to use their system to study this further, along with other aspects of cellular behaviour such as quorum sensing.

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

An array microhabitat system for high throughput studies of microalgal growth under controlled nutrient gradients
Beum Jun Kim, Lubna V. Richter, Nicholas Hatter, Chih-kuan Tung, Beth A. Ahner and Mingming Wu
Lab Chip, 2015,15, 3687-3694
DOI: 10.1039/ C5LC00727E

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About the webwriter

Claire Weston is a PhD student in the Fuchter Group, at Imperial College London. Her work is focused on developing novel photoswitches and photoswitchable inhibitors.

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*Access is free until 19/10/2015 through a registered RSC account – click here to register

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