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
MSB 2017 was held from March 26th – 29th, in Noordwijkerhout, The Netherlands. Lab on a Chip was involved in the best poster competition, along with fellow RSC journals Analyst and Analytical Methods. The competition was Judged by an international panel of scientists, which was chaired by Dr Monika Dittman, Agilent Technologies, Germany. All posters were judged on the following criteria:
Novelty and originality of the work, creativity and potential for innovation;
Scope of work, technical quality of experimental design, and execution of experiments;
Readability of the presentation and author’s explanations.
For the Lab on a Chip sponsored prize, the award winner received a free, one year e-subscription to Lab on a Chip. Congratulations to all of the prize winners.
Three of the best poster award winners, along with conference co-chair Rawi Ramautar (far left) and chair of the poster prize award panel, Monika Dittman (far right)
9th International Symposium on Microchemistry and Microsystems(ISMM 2017) will be taking place in Tasmania, Australia on 26-29 June 2017. The conference is being run in conjunction with the 7th Advances in Microfluidics & Nanofluidics (AMN), the 5th Asia-Pacific Chemical and Biological Microfluidic Conference (APCBM) and the 8th Australia New Zealand Nano-Microfluidics Symposium (ANZNMF) and together promise to boast an exciting range of topics and talks from the microfluidics community.
This is the first major international meeting to be held in Australia with a strong focus on microfluidics and miniaturised chemistry, engineering and medicine, and will provide a unique opportunity and forum to discuss the latest developments in the field with researchers from all over the world.
Look our for Lab on a Chip Editorial Board member Yoon-Kyoung Cho (UNIST, South Korea) and Advisory Board member Amy E. Herr (US Berkeley, USA), who will both be giving Plenary lectures during the event and a Keynote lecture from Advisory Board member Qun Fang (Zhejiang University, China)
For full information about the conference and how to register, visit theconference website.
Written by Darius Rackus, PhD researcher at University of Toronto
If you’ve ever visited St. Paul’s Cathedral in London or Grand Central Terminal in New York, you may be familiar with the interesting acoustic phenomenon termed a “whispering gallery”. The domed geometry of these structures allows sound to echo around the chambers such that a whisper spoken along the wall on one side can be clearly heard at the other end. This phenomenon can also apply to light, and microstructures tuned to a specific wavelength of light can be used as resonating sensors. Whispering-gallery mode (WGM) micro-goblet lasers use this phenomenon and can detect changes in the refractive index of the surrounding media as well as changes to the surface. This makes them ideal as label-free sensors that can detect changes to the surfaces of the microgoblets. When their surfaces are functionalized with capture moieties (e.g., antibodies, nucleic acids etc.) they can be used for sensitive label-free detection and would be a great tool to incorporate with microfluidics.
In their recent report, Wondimu et al. integrated arrays totaling 5,000 individually addressable sensors with a digital microfluidic (DMF) chip. DMF offers precise handling of nL-µL volume droplets in a compact format and with no moving parts. Typically, WGM sensors require coupling to fiber optics, but by doping the micro-goblets with organic dyes they can be operated as optically pumped lasers. This makes operating them less bulky and fits well with the streamlined philosophy behind DMF (i.e., no pumps, tubing, or connections). The fabrication of these large arrays is simple and relies on wet-etching and reflowing. Thus, scale-up is relatively straightforward. In their report, Wondimu et al. demonstrated the functionality of these sensors by testing liquids with different refractive indices as well as performing quantitative detection of streptavidin-biotin binding on the sensor surfaces. While these examples serve a demonstrative purpose, it will be possible to use these sensors for multiplexed affinity-based biosensing such as antibodies, nucleic acids, and aptamers. This will be a big leap for DMF as there haven’t been any examples of integrated multiplexed sensing on this scale before. One area where this could be applied to is the development of platforms to culture cells and perform multiplexed, label-free genetic analysis—a true micro total analysis system!
Starting in 2017, Lab on a Chip will be running an Emerging Investigator Series to showcase some of the best work in the field of miniaturisation at the micro- and nano-scale, being conducted by early-career researchers. The Series will ongoing, with articles being published once they are accepted and collated online.
There are many benefits for Emerging Investigators contributing to the series, with articles being featured in an online collection and receiving extensive promotion. This includes a special mention in journal contents alerts and an interview on the journal blog. Published articles will also be made free to access for a limited period. Furthermore, the continuous format is designed to allow more flexibility for contributors to participate in the venture without the restriction of submission deadlines.
We’ve received great feedback from previous Emerging Investigators, including this quote: “Being part of the Emerging Investigators issue was an honor and helpful to my career. Thanks again for including me” (2012 Emerging Investigator)
To represent the whole of the Lab on a Chip community, the Series will have two international Series Editors with a broad range of expertise: Editorial Board members, Dino Di Carlo (UCLA, USA), Yoon-Kyoung Cho (UNIST, South Korea) and Piotr Garstecki (IPC PAC, Poland)
To be eligible for the new Emerging Investigator Series you will need to have completed your PhD (or equivalent degree) within the last 10 years and have an independent career. If you are interested in contributing to the Series please contact the Editorial Office (email@example.com) and provide the following information:
Your up-to-date CV (no longer than 2 pages), which should include a summary of education and career, a list of relevant publications, any notable awards, honours or professional activities in the field, and a website URL if relevant;
A title and abstract of the research article intended to be submitted to the Series, including a tentative submission date. Please note that articles submitted to the journal for the Series will undergo the usual peer review process.
Keep up to date with the latest papers added to this Series on our twitter feed (@LabonaChip) with the hashtags #EmergingInvestigators #LabonaChip
Written by Darius Rackus, PhD researcher at University of Toronto
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.
The event will take place on 4th – 9th June 2017 in Barga, Italy.
The conference brings together scientists, engineers and clinicians to discuss and advance cutting edge knowledge of microfluidics. Microfluidics are small scale systems that could be used to diagnose disease, enable unique physical and biological experiments and create new materials.
The goal of the 2017 meeting is to bridge the gap between scientists and engineers focused on fundamentals and those translating fundamental work into new applications. The conference is sure to spark animated discussion, new interactions and fruitful collaborations!
The conference will consist of topical sessions and active poster sessions. Topics include:
Point of Care Technologies
Nucleic Acid Analysis and Next Generation Sequencing
Just like Google maps, DNA maps can tell us the distance between two genes, and allow us to zoom in on the region of interest. DNA mapping started with human genome project, where DNA sequencing techniques opened a way to unveil the genetic information. However, determining the unique places and repetitions of four “chemical letters” found in our DNA—together known as the genes—is a difficult mission due to temperature, pH, and pressure sensitivity of the molecule. DNA mapping technology allows for easy identification of large structural variations in DNA and therefore provides long-range information of the genome and can more.
Optical DNA mapping has emerged in the past decade as a powerful alternative to other DNA sequencing techniques since it can easily be applied with reduced risk of DNA damage. Over 100000 basepairs of DNA molecules, which are quite difficult to handle with other techniques, are labeled, stretched, and rendered in a single image. The stretching part is done using nanochannels (and therefore lab-on-a-chip technology), while the labeling part can be done by either enzymatic or affinity-based techniques (Figure 1). The concept and applications of optical DNA mapping has recently been very well explained in a tutorial review written by Vilhelm Müller and Fredrik Westerlund from Chalmers University of Technology in Sweden.
In enzymatic labelling nucleotides at particular regions on a single DNA strand are replaced by new ones using a DNA polymerase. The replacement nucleotides are then utilized to incorporate fluorophores into the DNA strand and allow for visualization. Nicking enzymes and methyl-transferases present two different approaches to employ enzymatic labelling process. While the use of differently colored fluorophores extends the applicability of this technique, the final resolution depends on the degree of stretching and the density of fluorophores on the region.
Affinity-based labelling is based on non-covalent interactions which can be enabled by either denaturation mapping or competitive binding. In denaturation mapping, DNA is heated to discriminate between the bases by their different bond energies. While G-C-basepairs still hold both strands of DNA—due to 3 hydrogen bonds holding them—, A-T-basepairs will melt—due to 2 hydrogen bonds holding them—. At this stage, an intercalating fluorescent dye can be linked to G-C-basepairs, allowing for imaging. Competitive binding relies on the usage of a fluorescent intercalating dye and a molecule selective for either A-T or G-C regions. Therefore, fluorescent dye cannot bind where the selective molecules have already bound. An optical map of DNA molecules can be obtained in this way. Affinity-based labelling is also highly dependent on the degree of stretching.
Optical DNA mapping techniques are useful tools for a wide range of applications from assembly of complex genomes to bacterial plasmid epidemiology. The concept opens up exciting research directions as it allows for automation of whole analysis using lab-on-a-chip systems and observation of the results using smartphones.
Figure 1. Schematic illustration of DNA labelling techniques used in optical DNA mapping. Enzyme-based labelling involves nicking enzymes and methyl-transferases techniques, while affinity-based labelling can be employed by denaturation mapping or competitive binding methods. This figure is adapted from “Optical DNA mapping in nanofluidic devices: principles and applications” paper.
To download the full article for free* click the link below:
Burcu Gumuscu is a postdoctoral fellow in BIOS Lab on a Chip Group at University of Twente in The Netherlands. Her research interests include development of microfluidic devices for next generation sequencing, compartmentalized organ-on-chip studies, and desalination of water on the microscale.