Breakthrough Technologies and Applications in Organ-On-a-Chip

Organ-on-a-chip technology has rapidly gained prominence and relevance at the interface between biology and engineering due to its burgeoning potential to revolutionise biomedical research and clinical applications. These micro-engineered devices mimic the physiological functions of human organs, providing powerful microfluidic platforms for disease modelling, drug testing and therapeutics, and personalised medicine.

In this Thematic Collection, led by Thought Leaders Séverine Le Gac, Roger Kamm, Yi-Chin Toh & Tae-Eun Park, we aim to highlight the most innovative and ground-breaking advancements in organ-on-a-chip technology and applications at the forefront of the field.

Submissions of interest will significantly build upon existing models and open new avenues of research and applications by providing cutting-edge solutions to pressing problems. In recognising the multidisciplinary nature and impact of organ-on-chips, we are emphasising the collaboration between academia, industry, and clinical partners and welcome contributions that demonstrate the translation of pioneering research into practical and clinical applications for human health and disease.

Topics of particular interest include, but are not limited to:

  • Emerging therapies beyond small drugs
  • New model designs
  • Digital twins and artificial intelligence (AI) integration and analysis
  • Advanced sensing and measurement technologies (integrated sensors, RNA Seq, proteomics, spatial omics, multi-omics, real-time measurements, etc.)
  • Bioprinting techniques
  • Standardisation
  • Diverse cell types (cell lines, primary cells, iPSCs, ex vivo tissues)
  • Multi-organ-on-chip and body-on-chip systems

This seminal collection will showcase select papers and their investigators that look towards the future – highlighting the most forward-thinking developments in the field of organ-on-a-chip technology.

We invite research and review papers in these and related topics. Accepted articles will be published in an online collection as soon as they are publishable and will be promoted extensively both as they are published and in the final collection.

The deadline for submission to this collection will be December 1st, 2024. If you are interested in submitting a contribution, please do get in touch (LOC-RSC@rsc.org) to discuss this further.

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Pioneers of Miniaturisation Lectureship 2024 – NOMIMATIONS ARE NOW OPEN

ūüď£ Exciting News from Lab on a Chip! ūüď£ We are thrilled to announce the opening of nominations for the annual and prestigious Pioneers of Miniaturisation Lectureship for 2024.

This annual award celebrates early to mid-career scientists who are within 15 years of their PhD and have demonstrated significant achievements in the field of miniaturised systems. It’s a fantastic opportunity for researchers to gain recognition for their innovative contributions to the community.

Key Benefits for the Awardee:

РAn invitation to present a lecture at microTAS 2024 in Montréal, Canada taking place in October
– Up to $3,000 in funding to support travel and accommodation expenses

Nomination Deadline: June 14, 2024

For eligibility criteria and nomination details, please visit our website HERE

The winner will be carefully selected by the Lab on a Chip Editorial Board, based on their contributions and impact in the field via letters of recommendation, candidate CV and nomination form.

Help us celebrate the brilliance and strong impact of our scientific community by submitting your nominations today!

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Diagnostics for Global Health – Global Health Workshop 2023

Bringing together multiple communities who are focused on developing and implementing diagnostic technologies for global health applications. This virtual workshop included communities that research, develop, and commercialized microfluidic technologies as well as public health and clinical professionals who strategize, implement, and evaluate new technologies and systems. Lab on a Chip was delighted to sponsor this event.

“We are grateful that this workshop was able to run as an online conference to bring together renowned researchers, entrepreneurs, and public health experts from across the world onto a single platform for learning and discussion of critical diagnostics topics. This year‚Äôs speaker and panel themes focused around sustainability, commercialization and delivery of global health diagnostics.

Our keynotes included Madhukar Pai (McGill University, CANADA), Maiwenn Kersuady-Kerhoas (Heriot-Watt University, UK), Umut Gurkan (Case Western Reserve University, USA), Tivani Mashamba-Thompson (University of Pretoria, South Africa), Bushan Toley (Papyrus Diagnostics, Indian Institute of Science, India), Catherine Klapperich (Boston Univeristy, USA), and Adriana Velazquez Berumen (World Health Organization, Switzerland).

We had 109 attendees joining from 6 continents, including 35 complementary attendees from the Global South thanks to the Purdue’s Global Engineering Program and Partnerships and Shah Family Global Innovation Lab which helped to sponsor the complementary registrations. And much thanks to RSC for the Lab on a Chip Poster Awards – I know the competition was tough and the awards mean a lot to the winners.” – Conference Chair Jacqueline Linnes

Congratulations to our Lab on a Chip poster prize winners Vanessa Ho at Imperial College London and Oshin Sharma at Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay!

Here is what Vanessa had to say about her work and the workshop:

What impact can your work have on the field and wider global health?
My research focuses on developing a microfluidic chip platform designed for quantifying individual cell-expressed microRNA molecules using a minimal number of cells, particularly beneficial for handling clinically scarce samples. This innovative tool integrates cell selection, isolation, lysis, and analysis within a single device. I have successfully demonstrated its efficacy in analysing microRNA levels across various cell types isolated from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease patient samples, revealing insights into their responses to different stimuli. Additionally, the device exhibits sensitivity in measuring microRNA molecules in non-invasive nasal samples with limited quantities.

Beyond its current applications, this platform holds promise for the comprehensive study of various human diseases. Its adaptability allows for the analysis of diverse biological samples, including saliva and blood. This versatility is instrumental in advancing drug therapeutic approaches and precision medicine. The potential impact extends not only to enhancing our understanding of diseases but also to improving diagnostic and therapeutic strategies for better global health outcomes..

How did you benefit from attending the Global Health 2023 workshop?

I am grateful to the organisers for giving me the chance to participate in and present at the Global Health 2023 workshop. The workshop significantly broadened my perspective, particularly in terms of refining my platform to better serve users in less developed countries and incorporating sustainability considerations. Engaging with experts in the field from around the world was enlightening, as their insights provided valuable lessons for the further development of my project. Connecting with researchers in the global health community from diverse countries allowed me to gain a deeper understanding of their challenges and enriched my overall experience.

 

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Lab on a Chip & Dolomite Pioneers of Miniaturisation Lectureship Award 2023 ‚Äď David Issadore

Lab on a Chip and Dolomite are delighted to announce the winner of the 2023 Pioneers of Miniaturization Lectureship, Professor David Issadore!

This Lectureship honours and supports the up and coming, next generation of scientists who have significantly contributed to the understanding or development of miniaturised systems.

The Issadore lab combines microelectronics, microfluidics, nanomaterials, and machine learning to solve big, currently¬†intractable problems in healthcare. The lab develops new miniaturized platforms for the diagnosis of disease, new platforms to manufacture micro and nano-scale materials, and they dip their toes into an assortment of other areas where they can leverage micro and nano-scale engineering to improve healthcare. This work requires an interdisciplinary approach in which engineers, scientists, and physicians work together in teams. David has a PhD in applied physics from Harvard with Robert Westervelt, he completed¬†post-doctoral training in the Systems Biology department at Mass General Hospital with Hakho Lee and Ralph Weissleder and has been on the faculty of Penn’s Bioengineering department since 2013.

Our Pioneers of Miniaturization Lectureship Winner is invited to speak at MicroTAS, and thus David will be presenting his talk at the MicroTAS 2023 meeting, 15-19th October 2023.

We give our warmest congratulations to David on his achievement!


Read some of David Issadore’s recent Lab on a Chip papers below:

A web-based automated machine learning platform to analyze liquid biopsy data

Advancing microfluidic diagnostic chips into clinical use: a review of current challenges and opportunities

Diagnosis of traumatic brain injury using miRNA signatures in nanomagnetically isolated brain-derived extracellular vesicles

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Welcome to our newest Lab on a Chip Associate Editors in 2023!

 

We are delighted to welcome:

  • Professor Xingyu Jiang (SUSTech, China)
  • Professor Amy Herr (UC Berkeley, USA)
  • Professor Hongkai Wu (HKUST, Hong Kong)

as our newest Lab on a Chip Associate Editors! You can read more about them and their research focus below.

 


Amy Herr

John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Professor, Department of Bioengineering, 

University of California,  Berkeley, USA

Amy Herr is the John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Professor in the Department of Bioengineering , a Chan Zuckerberg (CZ) Biohub Investigator, and CTO of the Chan Zuckerberg Biohub Network.

A major focus of the Herr lab is engineering innovation for analysis of complex biological systems — as is required to address questions important to both fundamental biological systems and applied clinical research. They employ a combination of approaches drawn from chemical engineering, mechanical engineering, and electrical engineering with strong foundations in biology, materials science, and analytical chemistry.¬† In essence, they strive to advance the “mathematization” of biology & medicine. ¬†Their research projects span understanding fundamental transport to materials design to applications in life sciences tools and diagnostics.

Professor Herr’s research has been recognized by prominent international andnational organizations, including: 2018 Sciex Microscale Separations Innovation Medal, 2017 Georgina Sweet Lectureship from the Australian Research Council, 2016 Mid-career Achievement Award from the American Electrophoresis Society, 2015 Georges Guiochon Faculty Fellow from HPLC, 2012 Young Innovator Award from Analytical Chemistry/CBMS, 2011 NSF CAREER award, 2010 NIH New Innovator Award, 2010 Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellowship in chemistry, 2010 New Investigator Award in Analytical Chemistry from Eli Lilly & Co., and a 2009 Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) Young Faculty Award. Her commitment to creating a strong professional community is reflected in recognition as: 2019 Award for Excellence in Postdoctoral Mentoring, Visiting Scientist & Posdoc. Assoc. at UC Berkeley, 2017 Berkeley Visionary Award from the City of Berkeley Chamber of Commerce, and 2007 Outstanding Mentor Award from Sandia National Labs.

Research Expertise and Interest
microfluidics, bioanalytical separations, diagnostics, electrokinetic transport, engineering design

Find out more on the Herr Lab website – Bioinstrumentation for Quantitative Biology & Medicine

Here are a selection of Amy’s most recent Lab on a Chip papers below:


Xingyu Jiang

Chair Professor, Department of Biomedical Engineering                                                                                                                                                                         Southern University of Science and Technology, China

Xingyu Jiang is a Chair Professor at the Southern University of Science and Technology, Shenzhen, China. He obtained his BS at the University of Chicago (1999) and PhD at Harvard University (Chemistry, 2004). In 2005, he joined the National Center for NanoScience and Technology/the University of the Chinese Academy of Sciences. He moved to the Southern University of Science and Technology in 2018. His research interests include microfluidics and nanomedicine and their applications in diagnostics, screening for therapeutics, as well as engineered tissues. He has over 300 publications in peer-reviewed journals. He was awarded the ‚ÄúHundred Talents Plan‚ÄĚ of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, the National Science Foundation of China‚Äôs Distinguished Young Scholars Award, the Scopus Young Researcher Gold Award, and the Human Frontier Science Program Young Investigator Award. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry (UK) and the American Institute of Medical and Biological Engineering.

Xingyu has been a committed member of the Lab on a Chip Editorial Board since 2020, and will now start handling papers for the journal.

Research Expertise and Interest
microfluidics & nanomedicine, and their applications in diagnostics, screening for therapeutics,  engineered tissues

Find out more on the Jiang lab website and follow @xingyu on Twitter

Here are a selection of Xingyu’s most recent Lab on a Chip papers below:


Hongkai Wu

Professor,  Department of Chemistry, Department of Chemical & Biological Engineering

Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, Hong Kong

Hongkai Wu is a Professor in Department of Chemistry & Department of Chemical & Biological Engineering at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, Hong Kong, China. Dr. Wu received his BSc from University of Science and Technology of China in 1995 and Ph.D from Harvard University, USA in 2002. After working as a Postdoctoral Fellow at Stanford, he joined the faculty in Department of Chemistry in Tsinghua University, Beijing, China in 2005 and moved to HKUST as an Assistant Professor in 2007. In 2012, he was promoted to be an Associate Professor. From 2009 to 2015, he established a satellite laboratory in Tohoku University, Sendai, Japan, focusing on developing functional biomaterials.

Research at the Wu lab focuses on the interdisciplinary frontiers of microfluidics, bioanalytical science and materials chemistry. They use the technologies in MEMS, microfluidics, soft lithography, and surface chemistry to design and provide new tools for the applications and understanding of fundamentals in materials and biological sciences, including microfluidic chemical reactors, high throughput single-cell analysis and chemical separations.

Research Expertise and Interest
microfluidics, bioanalytical science, materials chemistry, single-cell analysis

Find out more on the Wu lab website 

Here are a selection of Hongkai’s Lab on a Chip¬†papers below:


Please join us in welcoming our new Associate Editors. We look forward to continuing to work with them on Lab on a Chip, and they are looking forward to handling your papers!

Submit your paper today!

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Andreas Manz ‚Äď pioneer, mentor, friend

The founding Editor of Lab on a Chip and pioneer of the ¬ĶTAS field, Professor Andreas Manz, has announced his retirement. In celebration of all his works and achievements, we have collated a video from his friends and colleagues across the lab on a chip community.¬†

Watch the video ‚¨áÔłŹ

 

We have created a retrospective collection across the past 2 decades since Lab on a Chip’s inception, of his work published in the journal, which can be found here:

Andreas Manz Special Collection

In addition, we will be honouring Andreas with a special Lab on a Chip collection with invited papers from his networks throughout his career, for publication next year. Keep an eye on our Twitter for more details

Please join us in congratulating Andreas on his retirement, and we thank him for all his vital contributions to the journal, the field and the community!

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Welcoming our new Associate Editor, Jean-Christophe Baret

We are delighted to welcome Professor Jean-Christophe Baret as an Associate Editor for Lab on a Chip!


Jean-Christophe Baret

University of Bordeaux , France

JC Baret is Professor at the University of Bordeaux and member of the Institut Universitaire de France. He obtained his PhD from the University of Twente (NL) in 2005 and joined the Institut de Science et d’Ing√©nierie Supramol√©culaires (Univ Strasbourg) as a post-doc and then the Max Planck Institute for Dynamics and Self-Organization in Goettingen as a Max Planck Group Leader.

His laboratory is now located at the CNRS Centre de Recherche Paul Pascal where he develops research activities centered on microfluidics for applications in biochemistry, high-throughput screening and more recently for the bottom-up assembly of artificial cells. He is founder and scientific advisor of Emulseo developing industrial formulations for microfluidics.

Find out more on the his group website and follow @BaretJc on Twitter

Submit your work to Jean-Christophe today!

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Dolomite Microfluidics Competition 2022

Transform microfluidics industry with your research

Dolomite Microfluidic Competition 2022 is a competition for all researchers, students who are working or studying on microfluidics projects across the globe. We know¬†scientists around the world may have many great ideas, but don‚Äôt have enough resources for their projects. Therefore, Dolomite Microfluidics would like to organize this competition to¬†bring your ideas to the world and make them come true. –¬†

Prize

  • 1st¬†Prize:¬† A virtual voucher to purchase Dolomite Microfluidics products up to a maximum value of¬†USD 6000¬†(including shipping fee)
  • 2nd¬†Prize:¬† A virtual voucher to purchase Dolomite Microfluidics products up to a maximum value of¬†USD 2500¬†(including shipping fee)

The Dolomite Applications team will suggest of the most suitable products for the winner to benefit from in their project based only on the products produced and available on Dolomite Microfluidic Webshop.

Entry period

00:01 am GMT +7 on September 12, 2022 and ends at 11:59 pm GMT +7 on October 31, 2022

How to submit?

Visit the Dolomite Scientific Competition to learn more about the competition, how to submit, and FAQS

Dolomite Scientific Competition 2022_Terms Conditions

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Lab on a Chip & Dolomite Pioneers of Miniaturisation Lectureship Award 2022 – Yi-Chin Toh

Lab on a Chip and Dolomite are delighted to announce the winner of the 2022 Pioneers of Miniaturization Lectureship, Professor Yi-Chin Toh.

Yi-Chin-Toh, young female, headshotThis Lectureship honours and supports the up and coming, next generation of scientists who have significantly contributed to the understanding or development of miniaturised systems.

Yi-Chin Toh is currently a Future Fellow and Professor at the Queensland University of Technology. She is trained as a chemical and tissue engineer, having obtained her B.Eng. and PhD from the National University of Singapore. She did her post-doctoral training at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology under Professor Joel Voldman’s guidance. Before joining QUT, she led an independent research group as an Assistant Professor at the Department of Biomedical Engineering, National University of Singapore.

The mission of her research group is to develop new animal-alternative technologies so that drug testing and biological experimentation can be conducted in a more sustainable and human-relevant manner.

Her major scientific contribution is in the interfacing of tissue engineering with microfluidic technology to mimic biological complexity but in scalable and manufacturing-compatible formats that will be practical for deployment in routine drug testing. Her work has contributed significantly to understanding human pluripotent stem cell development and mimicking systemic multi-organ interactions, such as metabolic and immune interactions.

She has produced 64 peer-reviewed publications (h-index = 27), 8 patent applications, and over 100 conference presentations. Her works on animal alternative technologies have won accolades, such as the Global 3R Award, and are being featured in the Lab on the Chip Emerging Investigator Series (2019). Yi-Chin serves in the Australian Research Council College of Experts and is an associate editor of AIP Biomicrofluidics and Frontier in Digital Health (Personalised Medicine). She recently joined the Scientific Advisory Committee of Lab on a Chip (2022). She also contributes actively to the organization of the MicroTAS conference series, including the Poster Award Committee (2018-2019) and the Executive Technical Program Committee (ETPC) in 2021.

Read some of Yi-Chin Toh’s recent Lab on a Chip papers:

Lab on a Chip РIntegration of a microfluidic multicellular coculture array with machine learning analysis to predict adverse cutaneous drug reactions

Lab on a Chip РSelf-aligning Tetris-Like (TILE) modular microfluidic platform for mimicking multi-organ interactions

Lab on a Chip РA liver-immune coculture array for predicting systemic drug-induced skin sensitization

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A new look at the world of membranes

Where life begins, the matter is structured at the micron scale by slotting every single molecule into its needful space. The molecules looped a bilipid membrane and nested more functional molecules inside, controlling the flows of energy in that smallest living cell. Every loop is a thicket of surprises on how much life can accomplish. High-precision measurements are a way to go to explore these small loops with immense information.   

A cell requires the bilipid membrane to keep its functional molecules inside and separate itself from the surrounding environment. Bilipid membrane is a thin and flexible film made of water repellent and attractant molecules that form double layers in watery solutions where the water attractant heads line up outside and water repellent tails stay inside. Conditions on the two sides of a bilipid membrane (so, inside and outside of a cell) are often different because the presence and concentrations of surrounding ions and molecules will be different. Although the law of thermodynamics tries to equilibrate the conditions, ion pumps and proteins embedded in bilipid membranes pump molecules and ions in and out, in order to get the cell what it needs. We need a precise understanding of the nature of bilipid membranes to understand life, survival, and producing e.g., pharmaceuticals for survival or better living. Currently, multiple methodologies allow looking at a single cell or single chemical process step level. However, not that many allow analyzing the same phenomena with the same precision from different perspectives. 

Voltage-dependent ion channels are a prominent example of the interest in an efficient methodology for multiple measurements. In essence, they allow for recording the electrical signals that surge as a response to activation of voltage-dependent channels, combined with simultaneous optical observation of structural changes and membrane dynamics. It is not a novel idea in the research world; however, reaching this goal has been challenging. Multiple methodologies have been proposed and tested, but frequently at a cost of a loss of precision or a rise in system complexity, making it hard to handle and more prone to error. The work published by Tobias Ensslen and Jan C. Behrends proposes a gracious solution that with a simple in-concept modification can achieve high optical resolution fluorescence microscopy while using a modified routinely used multielectrode-cavity array (MECA) (Figure 1). 

While taking the original MECA design, a platform used for electrophysiological recordings for artificially formed lipid bilayers, a few alterations were implemented in order to accommodate the fluorescence imaging. The original device was designed with several novelties: (1) Silver/silver chloride electrodes and a gold conductive layer were used for detecting electrical signals emitted by an activated membrane. (2) The substrate for the fabricated system is coverslip glass instead of a microscope slide glass, which decreases the photons‚Äô optical path from 500 ¬Ķm to <170 ¬Ķm. (3) The bottom electrodes were changed from a circular shape to a ring one, leaving a central opening for the light path. (4) The MECA-opto platform is also equipped with four apertures for membrane formation, which allow quickly switching the recording if a membrane is damaged or photobleaching in the recording site occurs. Altogether, these modifications enabled the acquisition of individually addressable electrophysiological and optical data without any additional equipment.¬†

As a proof of concept study, the group demonstrated the molecular process of opening the voltage-dependant ion channel on the given membrane when activated by an antibacterial peptide, ceratotoxin-A. MECA-opto recordings allowed to determine the lifetimes of fluorophores with the results consistent with the available data regarding the stability of fluorophores. This is a promising work that can advance many studies at the molecular level and our understanding of the mechanisms of opening and closing ion channels. 

 

Figure 1. The MECA-Opto device can combine both electrophysiological and optical recordings to monitor free-standing membranes and membrane proteins.

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

A chip-based array for high-resolution fluorescence characterization of free-standing horizontal lipid membranes under voltage clamp

Tobias Ensslen and Jan C. Behrends

Lab Chip, 2022, DOI: 10.1039/d2lc00357k

About the Web writers

OksanaSavchakOksana Savchak is a Ph.D. student in Biosensors and Devices Lab at the Eindhoven University of Technology in the Netherlands. She focuses on the development of microfluidic screening platforms to investigate cell-material interactions.

Burcu Gumuscu is an assistant professor at Eindhoven University of Technology in the Netherlands, and the chair of the Biosensors and Devices Lab. She strives for the development, fabrication, and application of smart biomaterials to realize high-precision processing in high-throughput microfluidic settings. She specifically focuses on the design and development of lab-on-a-chip devices containing hydrogels for diversified life sciences applications.

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