Author Archive

Xingyu Jiang joins the Lab on a Chip Editorial Board

Xingyu Jiang

Lab on a Chip is pleased to announce that Professor Xingyu Jiang has recently joined our editorial board. Professor 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.

Professor Jiang’s 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 “Hundred Talents Plan” of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, the National Science Foundation of China’s 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 American Institute of Medical and Biological Engineering.

Welcome Xingyu!

 

 


Read some of Professor Jiang’s recent Lab on a Chip publications here*:

Hierarchically structured microchip for point-of-care immunoassays with dynamic detection ranges
Lei Mou, Ruihua Dong, Binfeng Hu, Zulan Li, Jiangjiang Zhang and Xingyu Jiang
Paper
Lab Chip, 2019, 19, 2750-2757

Profiling protein–protein interactions of single cancer cells with in situ lysis and co-immunoprecipitation
Ji Young Ryu, Jihye Kim, Min Ju Shon, Jiashu Sun, Xingyu Jiang, Wonhee Lee and Tae-Young Yoon
Communication
Lab Chip, 2019, 19, 1922-1928

Hand-powered centrifugal microfluidic platform inspired by the spinning top for sample-to-answer diagnostics of nucleic acids
Lu Zhang, Fei Tian, Chao Liu, Qiang Feng, Tingxuan Ma, Zishan Zhao, Tiejun Li, Xingyu Jiang and Jiashu Sun
Paper
Lab Chip, 2018, 18, 610-619


*These articles are free to read for 4 weeks.

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Lab on a Chip and Dolomite 2020 Pioneers of Miniaturization Lectureship Winner

Lab on a Chip and Dolomite are delighted to announce the winner of the 2020 Pioneers of Miniaturization Lectureship, Professor Wilbur A. Lam, MD, PhD.

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.

Professor Lam is a physician-scientist-engineer and clinical pediatric hematologist/oncologist. He is the W. Paul Bowers Research Chair of Pediatrics and Biomedical Engineering at Emory University and Georgia Tech and an attending physician at the Aflac Cancer and Blood Disorders Center of the Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta.

His laboratory focuses on developing microsystems to study and diagnose hematologic diseases including sickle cell disease, thrombotic/bleeding disorders, and leukemia. He is also principal investigator of the Atlanta Center for Microsystems Engineered Point-of-Care Technology (ACME POCT), an integral part of the NIH’s Point-of-Care Technologies Research Network (POCTRN) and RADx COVID-19 initiative.

Professor Lam received his MD from Baylor College of Medicine, going on to earn his PhD in Bioengineering from the University of California, Berkley. He completed his Fellowship in Pediatric Hematology/Oncology and Residency in Pediatrics at the University of California, San Francisco.

Our Pioneers of Miniaturization Lectureship Winner is invited to speak at MicroTAS, and thus Wilbur will be presenting his talk at the online MicroTAS 2020 meeting, 4-9th October 2020.

We our warmest congratulations to Wilbur on his achievement.


Read some of Wilbur Lam’s recent Lab on a Chip papers below:

Interdigitated microelectronic bandage augments hemostasis and clot formation at low applied voltage in vitro and in vivo
Elaissa T. Hardy, Yannan J. Wang, Sanathan Iyer, Robert G. Mannino, Yumiko Sakurai, Thomas H. Barker, Taiyun Chi, Yeojoon Youn, Hua Wang, Ashley C. Brown and Wilbur A. Lam
Lab Chip, 2018, 18, 2985-2993

Probing blood cell mechanics of hematologic processes at the single micron level
Jordan C. Ciciliano, Reza Abbaspour, Julia Woodall, Caroline Wu, Muhannad S. Bakir and Wilbur A. Lam
Lab Chip, 2017, 17, 3804-3816

3D microvascular model recapitulates the diffuse large B-cell lymphoma tumor microenvironment in vitro
Robert G. Mannino, Adriana N. Santiago-Miranda, Pallab Pradhan, Yongzhi Qiu, Joscelyn C. Mejias, Sattva S. Neelapu, Krishnendu Roy and Wilbur A. Lam
Lab Chip, 2017, 17, 407-414


*Free to read until 26th October 2020 with an RSC publishing account.

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Emerging Investigator Series – Katherine Elvira

Lab on a Chip is delighted to introduce our most recent Emerging Investigator, Katherine Elvira!

Katherine received her undergraduate Master’s degree in Chemistry from Imperial College London in 2007. She started working in the field of microfluidics during her PhD (2012, Imperial College London), by building digital microfluidic platforms to perform automated chemical reactions. Katherine then moved to ETH Zürich (Switzerland) working firstly as a Postdoctoral Researcher and then as a Senior Scientist in the Institute for Chemical and Bioengineering. Since 2017, Katherine is the Canada Research Chair in New Materials and Techniques for Health Applications and an Assistant Professor in the Department of Chemistry at the University of Victoria, Canada. Katherine’s group currently develops microfluidic technologies to build bespoke artificial cells for the quantification of pharmacokinetic parameters in vitro. Katherine has recently presented this work at the Gordon Research Conference on Drug Metabolism (2019), is Co-Chair for the Gordon Research Conference on the Physics and Chemistry of Microfluidics (2023) and is a Scientific Mentor for the Creative Destruction Lab.

Read Dr Elvira’s Emerging Investigator paper* “A bespoke microfluidic pharmacokinetic compartment model for drug absorption using artificial cell membranes” and find out more about her and her research in the interview below.

Katherine Elvira

Image credit: UVic Photo Services

Your recent Emerging Investigator Series paper focuses on a new type of pharmacokinetic compartment model for the prediction of drug absorption. How has your research evolved from your first article to this most recent article?

Funnily enough, my first ever article was a very early precursor to this work. We built a microfluidic platform for the formation of droplet interface bilayers (DIBs) in high-throughput. I didn’t work with DIBs again until I started as a Canada Research Chair at the University of Victoria, but they are the basis for the new type of pharmacokinetic compartment model that we show in the Emerging Investigator article. We can now make them mimic human cell membranes and hence they form the building blocks for the compartments in the pharmacokinetic compartment model. In between, my research involved making microfluidic devices for application in many different fields, such as drug discovery, organic chemistry and food science. I also spent some time investigating why microfluidic droplets rarely behave perfectly, and how we can mitigate this. I like that paper because we included a poster in the ESI which my group still uses in the lab to determine what is going wrong with their chips.

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

I am really excited about some cool new artificial cell and tissue models that we are building, and how they can be used to model disease and drug behaviour in humans. My group is full of outstanding researchers, which makes it really easy to be excited about the work they are doing!

In your opinion, what is the biggest advantage of using your microfluidic platform over other methods?

It’s two things, really. Firstly, the fact that we are able to build networks of different compartments and artificial cell membranes on a chip. This allows us to build an in vitro model of the pathway that a drug would take in a human, from the intestine to the blood. And secondly, the fact that we can make these artificial cell membranes using phospholipids that are found in human cells. This makes our in vitro model quite biomimetic. In fact, we are able to predict molecular transport into cells three times better than the state-of-the-art in vitro commercial technique.

What do you find most challenging about your research?

Let’s face it, PDMS is awesome in some ways, but awful in others. I would love to find another material that has the advantages of PDMS, such as being cheap, transparent, and good for prototyping, but that has really stable and modifiable surface chemistry, and that we can mass produce for commercial applications.

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

I am part of the Technical Program Committee for MicroTAS 2020, so I will be at the online conference in October. And next year I am co-Vice Chair of the Gordon Research Conference on the Physics and Chemistry of Microfluidics, which will hopefully be taking place in Italy.

How do you spend your spare time?

I am really lucky to live in beautiful British Columbia on the West coast of Canada. During the winter months I get to go backcountry snowboarding in some of the most outstanding mountains in the world. In the summer, I switch my snowboard for a stand-up paddle board along the beaches in Victoria. I also love travelling, which I do a lot, both for work and for fun. I need my yoga classes to keep me relaxed, and have a slight obsession with cooking all the European foods that I miss from home.

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

I wanted to be an astronaut when I was younger. It still sounds cool but I am also happy staying on earth and being an academic, it’s a pretty great life.

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

I don’t always find it easy being a woman in science, so I would encourage early career female scientists to persevere, we need diversity in academia. I would tell their male colleagues to be good allies.

 

*Dr Elvira’s paper is free to access with an RSC account for the next month.

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Emerging Investigator Series – Fabrice Gielen

Lab on a Chip is delighted to introduce our most recent Emerging Investigator, Fabrice Gielen! 

Dr. Fabrice Gielen is an Independent Research Fellow at the Living Systems Institute, University of Exeter. He obtained his PhD from Imperial College London during which he studied cellular membrane dynamics using a combination of single cell microfluidic trapping techniques and single molecule spectroscopy with Profs. Joshua Edel and Andrew deMello. He subsequently moved to Cambridge as a Post-Doctoral Research Associate with Prof. Florian Hollfelder to contribute to the field of ultra-high-throughput biocatalyst evolution. He is a Founder and Scientific Director of Drop-Tech Ltd, which commercializes droplet-on-demand platforms. His research interests include developing novel tools and methods to study and harness single cells with applications in bacteria-phage interactions, protein evolution and regenerative medicine.

Read Dr Gielen’s Emerging Investigator paper* “Deep learning guided image-based droplet sorting for on-demand selection and analysis of single cells and 3D cell cultures” and find out more about him and his research in the interview below. 

Picture of Emerging Investigator, Fabrice Gielen

 

Your recent Emerging Investigator Series paper focuses on sorting of single droplets for selection and analysis of single cells and 3D cell cultures. How has your research evolved from your first article to this most recent article?

 My first article (long ago already!) presented a microfluidic device for trapping and focussing microparticles within microchannels. The common theme with my present work is how precise control at the microscale enables us to perform novel types of biological experiments across populations. We can now truly benefit from the progress made in engineering, computing and optical setups to study biology, not just faster but in fundamentally different ways than was possible when I started my career.

 

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

Studying single cells holds the promise to understand biology down to its fundamental unit. I joined the Living Systems Institute at the University of Exeter to exploit the advantages of droplet microfluidics in terms of single cell control and interrogation for the study of complex biological systems. Since then, I have developed multiple interests ranging from the behaviour of unicellular organisms, cellular differentiation or the discovery of novel antimicrobials. I believe there is also a large scope for other, yet unforeseen applications.

 

In your opinion, what is the biggest advantage to using your platform for classifying single droplet images compared to other methods?

 Images hold a lot of information and machines can uncover patterns where humans cannot. Recent technological progress allows us to combine image acquisition and analysis in real-time. Problems such as image classification used in medical diagnostics or selection to isolate rare cell types benefit enormously from machine learning tools that can identify objects only using human-labelled training data. Our paper shows one way of doing this is by using convolutional neural networks which can be trained to recognize several types of micro-objects simultaneously.

 

What do you find most challenging about your research?

The ability to combine in a single experiment microfluidic workflows, biological entities, and biochemical reactions has the flipside that successful and conclusive experiments happen only when all these variables coincide (which is sometimes rare!). On the bright side, microfluidics has gone a long way in terms of reproducibility and long-term functionality and the onus is now more on the biology.

 

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

I am planning to attend the MicroTAS 2020 (Palm Springs) and EMBL microfluidics (Heidelberg).  

 

How do you spend your spare time?

I like to take the family out to visit Devon and the Jurassic Coast, which I highly recommend to anyone visiting the region.

 

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

I would go for musician/composer, maybe pianist.

 

*Dr Gielen’s paper is free to access with an RSC account for the next month.

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Meet our new Advisory Board members!

Lab on a Chip is excited to introduce the newest additions to our Advisory Board!

Esther Amstad studied material science at ETH Zurich, Switzerland, where she also carried out her PhD thesis under the supervision of Prof. Marcus Textor (2007-2011). Her thesis was devoted to the steric stabilization of iron oxide nanoparticles. As a Postdoctoral fellow, she joined the experimental soft condensed matter group of David A. Weitz at Harvard University, USA (2011-2014). She developed new microfluidic devices to study early stages of the crystallization of nanoparticles, and to produce drops of well-defined sizes at high throughputs. Since June 2014, she is Tenure Track Assistant Professor at the institute of Materials at Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), Switzerland, where she heads the Soft Materials Laboratory (SMAL). Inspired by nature, her research team develops drop-based processing routes that offer control over the local composition and structure of materials to fabricate adaptable, self-healing materials.

Esther Amstad

Stephanie Descroix is team leader at Institut Curie, France. Her group is interested in the development of microfluidics for biomedical applications and more recently in organ on chip development for biophysics and biology. She has an initial background in biochemistry and obtained her PhD in Analytical Chemistry in 2002. She was hired a CNRS researcher at ESPCI (Paris) in 2004 to develop microfluidic device for bioanalytical application. In 2011, she joined the lab PhysicoChemistry Curie at Institut Curie to benefit from a unique interdisciplinary and clinical environment. Since 2013, she is head of the CNRS French Micro and Nanofluidic Network (GDR MNF) and she is co-founder of INOREVIA company.

Stephanie Descroix

Mei He is an Assistant Professor at the University of Kansas, USA. She received her PhD degree from the University of Alberta with Professor Jed Harrison, and postdoctoral training from the University of California, Berkeley with Professor Amy Herr. Dr. He Received NIH Maximizing Investigator’s Research Award for Early Stage Investigators (MIRA ESI) and LOC Emerging Investigator in 2019. She also received an Lab on Chip Outstanding Reviewer award for the year of 2018. One of her publications received the 2018 SLAS Technology Readers Choice Award. Her research interests include biomedical microfluidic devices and sensing approaches, 3D biomaterials, and nanodelivery, employed in programming and monitoring biomimetic immunity associated with extracellular vesicles.

Mei He

Michelle Khine is Professor of Biomedical Engineering at University of California, Irvine, USA. Prior to UC Irvine, Khine was an Assistant and Founding professor at UC Merced from 2006-09. At UC Merced, Shrink Nanotechnologies Inc., the first start-up company from youngest UC campus, was spun out of the research developed in Khine’s lab. Her current research projects include: single cell electroporation, shrinky-dink microfluidics, microsystems for stem cell differentiation, canary-on-a-chip and quantitative single-cell analysis of receptor dynamics and chemotactic response on a chip.

Michelle Khine

Wilbur Lam MD, PhD is a physician-scientist-engineer trained in clinical pediatric hematology/oncology as well as bioengineering. He is the W. Paul Bowers Research Chair, Associate Professor of Pediatrics and Biomedical Engineering at Emory University School of Medicine and the Georgia Institute of Technology, and an attending physician at the Aflac Cancer and Blood Disorders Center of Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. His laboratory focuses on developing microfluidic and microfabricated systems to study, diagnose, and even treat hematologic diseases including sickle cell disease, thrombotic/bleeding disorders, and leukemia.

Wilbur Lam

Severine Le Gac is Professor at the University of Twente (The Netherlands), where she leads a group called Applied Microfluidics for BioEngineering Research (AMBER). Séverine Le Gac holds her Engineer degree from the ESPCI (Ecole Supérieure de Physique et de Chimie Industrielles) and her MSc degree from the National Museum of Natural History (both Paris, France). In 2004, she obtained her PhD degree cum laude from the University of Lille (France). After a short visit at the University of Tokushima (Japan), she joined the University of Twente in 2005 as a post-doctoral researcher, before being appointed as a tenure-tracker in the same university. Professor Le Gac is member of the director board of the Chemical Biological Microsystem Society (CBMS). Her research focuses on the use of miniaturized devices for biological and medical applications, and in particular for cancer research and the field of assisted reproductive technologies.

Séverine Le Gac

Xiujun (James) Li is Associate Professor at the University of Texas at El Paso, USA. Prior to University of Texas at El Paso, Professor Li was a NSERC Postdoctoral Fellow at UC Berkeley working with Richard A. Mathies and a NSERC Postdoctoral Fellow at the Harvard University & Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering, working with Professor Whitesides. Professor Li has received various awards including the 2018 Outstanding Faculty Dissertation Research Mentoring Award, UTEP, the 2017-2018 Outstanding Efforts Award, UTEP and a 2017 Innovation Center Proof-of-Concept Grant, Medical Center of the Americas Foundation (MCA). Professor Li’s research focusses on bioanalysis, biomedical & environmental applications, and catalysis using microfluidic lab-on-a-chip platforms and nanotechnology.

Xiujun Li

Ian Papautsky is Richard and Loan Hill Professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago, USA and Co-Director of the NSF Center for Advanced Design & Manufacturing of Integrated Microfluidics. The Papautsky lab is focused on innovating blood analysis technologies, using microfluidics and sensing, for precision and point-of-care medicine. The Papautsky lab also pioneered the inertial microfluidics technology for label-free isolation and analysis of rare cells. The Papautsky lab has recently focused on capture and molecular profile analysis of circulating tumor cells (CTCs) and circulating tumor microemboli (CTM), whose molecular profile can provide a “cancer census” that is more holistic representation of disease state and active pathophysiology.

Ian Papautsky

Weian Zhao is an Associate Professor at the Sue and Bill Gross Stem Cell Research Center, Chao Family Comprehensive Cancer Center, Department of Biomedical Engineering, and Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences at University of California, Irvine. Dr. Zhao is also the co-founder of Velox Biosystems Inc, and Amberstone Biosciences Inc, start-up companies that aim to develop technologies for rapid diagnosis and immunotherapeutic discovery, respectively. Dr. Zhao’s research aims to 1) elucidate and eventually control the fate of transplanted stem cells and immune cells to treat cancer and autoimmune diseases, and 2) develop novel miniaturized devices for early diagnosis and monitoring for conditions including sepsis, antibiotic resistance and cancer. Dr. Zhao has received several awards including the MIT’s Technology Review TR35 Award: the world’s top 35 innovators under the age of 35 and NIH Director’s New Innovator Award. Dr. Zhao completed his BSc and MSc degrees in Chemistry at Shandong University and then obtained his PhD in Chemistry at McMaster University in 2008. During 2008-2011, Dr. Zhao was a Human Frontier Science Program (HFSP) Postdoctoral Fellow at Harvard Medical School, Brigham and Women’s Hospital and MIT.

Weian Zhao

Recent Publications in Lab on a Chip by our newest Advisory Board members

Simplified Drop-seq workflow with minimized bead loss using a bead capture and processing microfluidic chip

Biočanin, M, Bues, J.Dainese, R. Amstad, E., Deplancke, B.

Lab Chip, 2019, 19, 1610-1620

 

Scalable production of double emulsion drops with thin shells

Vian, A., Reuse, B., Amstad, E.

Lab Chip, 2018, 18, 1936-1942

 

Controlling the distance of highly confined droplets in a capillary by interfacial tension for merging on-demand

Ferraro, D, Serra, M., Filippi, D., Zago, L., Guglielmin, E., Pierno, M., Descroix, S., Viovy, J.-L., Mistura, G.

Lab Chip, 2019, 19, 136-146

 

3D-printing enabled micro-assembly of a microfluidic electroporation system for 3D tissue engineering

Zhu, Q., Hamilton, M., Vasquez, B., He, M.

Lab Chip, 2019, 19, 2362-2372

 

Microfluidic on-demand engineering of exosomes towards cancer immunotherapy

Zheng Zhao, Jodi McGill, Pamela Gamero-Kubotac and Mei He.

Lab Chip, 2019, 19, 1877-1886

 

Wearable sensors: Modalities, challenges, and prospects

Heikenfeld, J., Jajack, A., Rogers, J., Gutruf, P., Tian, L., Pan, T., Li, R., Khine, M., Kim, J., Wang, J., Kim, J.

Lab Chip, 2018, 18, 217-248

 

Interdigitated microelectronic bandage augments hemostasis and clot formation at low applied voltage: In vitro and in vivo

Hardy, E.T., Wang, Y.J., Iyer, S., Mannino, R.G., Sakurai, Y., Barker, T.H., Chi, T., Youn, Y., Wang, H., Brown, A.C., Lam, W.A.

Lab Chip, 2018, 18, 2985-2993

 

Immuno-capture of extracellular vesicles for individual multi-modal characterization using AFM, SEM and Raman spectroscopy

Beekman, P., Enciso-Martinez, A., Rho, H.S., Pujari, S.P., Lenferink, A., Zuilhof, H., Terstappen, L.W.M.M., Otto, C., Le Gac, S.

Lab Chip, 2019, 19, 2526-2536

 

Size-dependent enrichment of leukocytes from undiluted whole blood using shear-induced diffusion

Zhou, J., Papautsky, I.

Lab Chip, 2019, 19, 3416-3426

 

Single stream inertial focusing in low aspect-ratio triangular microchannels

Mukherjee, P., Wang, X., Zhou, J., Papautsky, I.

Lab Chip, 2019, 19, 147-157

 

An ultrasensitive test for profiling circulating tumor DNA using integrated comprehensive droplet digital detection

Chen-Yin Ou, Tam Vu, Jonathan T. Grunwald, Michael Toledano, Jan Zimak, Melody Toosky, Byron Shen, Jason A. Zell, Enrico Gratton, Timothy J. Abram and Weian Zhao

Lab Chip, 2019, 19, 993-1005

 

Functional TCR T cell screening using single-cell droplet microfluidics

Aude I. Segaliny, Guideng Li, Lingshun Kong, Ci Ren, Xiaoming Chen, Jessica K. Wang, David Baltimore, Guikai Wu and Weian Zhao

Lab Chip, 2018, 18, 3733-3749

We hope you enjoy reading this collection, which we have made free to access until the 15th March 2020 with an RSC Publishing Account.

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Lab on a Chip presents prestigious prizes at MicroTAS 2019

The µTAS 2019 Conference was held from 27-31st October in Basel, Switzerland. Maria Southall, Deputy Editor of Lab on a Chip, attended the conference and announced the prestigious Lab on a Chip awards which include the Pioneers of Miniaturization Lectureship (in partnership with Dolomite Microfluidics), the Widmer Young Researcher Poster Prize and the Art in Science competition (in partnership with NIST). All three competitions received many fantastic submissions and we are delighted to present the winners, below:

Lab on a Chip/Dolomite “Pioneers of Miniaturization” Lectureship

Professor Hang Lu (Georgia Tech, USA) was awarded the 14th “Pioneers of Miniaturization” Lectureship, sponsored by Dolomite and Lab on a Chip. The “Pioneers of Miniaturization” Lectureship rewards early to mid-career scientists who have made extraordinary or outstanding contributions to the understanding or development of miniaturised systems. Professor Lu received a certificate, a monetary award and delivered a short lecture at the conference.

Left to right: Mark Gilligan (Dolomite), Hang Lu (winner) and Maria Southall (Lab on a Chip)

Left to right: Mark Gilligan (Dolomite), Hang Lu (winner) and Maria Southall (Lab on a Chip)

 

 

Hang Lu (winner) delivering her lecture

Hang Lu (winner) delivering her lecture

Art in Science Competition

Greg Cooksey from the National Institute of Standards & Technology (NIST) and Lab on a Chip Deputy Editor Maria Southall presented the Art in Science award to Joseph de Rutte from UCLA for his entry “A Cell’s World”. This award aims to highlight the aesthetic value in scientific illustrations while still conveying scientific merit.

Greg Cooksey (NIST), Joseph de Rutte (UCLA, winner) and Maria Southall (Lab on a Chip)

Left to right: Greg Cooksey (NIST), Joseph de Rutte (UCLA, winner) and Maria Southall (Lab on a Chip)

Fluorescent image of uniform droplets formed using structured microparticles. Fluorescently labeled particles are suspended in a water solution and agitated with oil and surfactant. This platform is used to encapsulate single-cells and measure their secretions.

Winning image ‘A Cell’s World’: Fluorescent image of uniform droplets formed using structured microparticles. Fluorescently labeled particles are suspended in a water solution and agitated with oil and surfactant. This platform is used to encapsulate single-cells and measure their secretions.

Widmer Young Researcher Poster Prize

The Widmer Young Researcher Poster Prize was awarded to Roberto Rodriguez-Moncayo from the Centro de Investigación y de Estudios Avanzados del IPN, Mexico, for his poster on “Integrated microfluidic device for universal secretory immunophenotyping studies for adherent and non adherent cells”.

Maria Southall (left) with Roberto Rodriguez-Moncayo (winner)

Maria Southall (left, Lab on a Chip) with Roberto Rodriguez-Moncayo (winner)

Congratulations to all the winners at the conference, we look forward to seeing you at µTAS 2020 in Palm Springs, California, USA! 

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Art in Science Competition Winner and runners up announced at MicroTAS 2019

Lab on a Chip and the National Institute of Standards Technology (NIST) presented the Art in Science award at the µTAS 2019 Conference on the 30th October 2019 at the Lab on a Chip/Royal Society of Chemistry booth. The award highlights the aesthetic value in scientific illustrations while still conveying scientific merit. The competition received many fantastic submissions this year which were judged by Jeanne Andres, Lab on a Chip Executive Editor, Greg Cooksey, NIST representative and Hang LuLab on a Chip Associate Editor .

Greg Cooksey and Maria Southall (Lab on a Chip Deputy Editor) announced the winner of the competition was Joesph de Rutte (UCLA) with his entry “A Cell’s World” and presented Mr de Rutte with his award and certificate.

A Cell’s World  

Joseph de Rutte, UCLA, USA

Fluorescent image of uniform droplets formed using structured microparticles. Fluorescently labeled particles are suspended in a water solution and agitated with oil and surfactant. This platform is used to encapsulate single-cells and measure their secretions.
Fluorescent image of uniform droplets formed using structured microparticles. Fluorescently labeled particles are suspended in a water solution and agitated with oil and surfactant. This platform is used to encapsulate single-cells and measure their secretions.
Greg Cooksey (NIST), Joseph de Rutte (UCLA, winner) and Maria Southall (Lab on a Chip)
Left to right: Greg Cooksey (NIST), Joseph de Rutte (UCLA, winner) and Maria Southall (Lab on a Chip)

The runners up are:

Laura Barillas, Leibniz Institute for Plasma Science and Technology (INP), Germany
MicroQuasar – Laura Barillas, Leibniz Institute for Plasma Science and Technology (INP), Germany
Sensing in Three-Dimensions
Sensing in Three-Dimensions – Michael Restaino, University of Maryland, USA
Stars and Diamonds made out of bone cells
Stars and Diamonds made out of bone cells – Charlotte Yvanoff, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Belgium

 

A big thank you to all the contributors this year!

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MicroTAS 2019 Student Mixer

Written by Darius Rackus

Do you know which country has an airport with an IATA code of “OMG”? How about when the most recent Swiss canton joined the Swiss Confederacy? Or do you know where the article first describing a miniaturized total analysis system was published? For trivia boffins and scientists in microfluidics, these were the types of questions asked at the third annual student mixer at the International Conference on Miniaturized Systems for Chemistry and Life Sciences (microTAS).

For the past three years, microTAS has been hosting networking events for postgraduate students and female faculty. This year, students were invited to a pub quiz where they could not only test their trivia knowledge but also meet peers from different labs and different countries.

Over 200 students showed up for the night, and at least 150 participated in the quiz. The one rule given was that teams had to include students from at least two different countries and students were quick to form very diverse teams. The winning team had students representing Switzerland, China, Japan, and Israel. While there was lots of Swiss chocolate to be won, the main benefit was making new connections, which can sometimes be daunting at large international conferences.

The event was hosted by the Chemical and Biological Miniaturization Society (CBMS) and prizes were sponsored by the Royal Society of Chemistry, the journal Analytical Chemistry (ACS), and Dolomite. The winning team took home microfluidics-branded hoodies and 400 g each of fine Swiss chocolate. Of course, winning isn’t everything and networking events like this are great opportunities for connecting early career researchers. Hopefully this will continue to be a fixture of future microTAS conferences.

MicroTAS student mixer. Photo credit: André Kling

For the curious, the answers to the questions are a) Namibia (Omega Airport), b) Canton Jura was formed and joined in 1979, and c) Manz, Graber and Widmer coined the term “µTAS” in their 1990 Sensors and Actuators B publication


About the webwriter

Darius Rackus (right) is a postdoctoral researcher in the Dittrich Bionalytics Group at ETH Zürich. His research interests are in developing integrated microfluidic tools for healthcare and bioanalysis

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Emerging Investigators Series – Ye Ai

 

Dr. Ye Ai is currently an Associate Professor at Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD). He obtained his B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Huazhong University of Science and Technology (China) in 2005 and his Ph.D. in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering from Old Dominion University (USA) in 2011. Prior to joining SUTD as an assistant professor in 2013, he worked as a postdoctoral researcher at the Bioscience Division of Los Alamos National Laboratory from June 2011 to January 2013. He was a visiting scholar at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) from August 2014 to July 2015. He was promoted to associate professor with tenure in September 2019. Dr. Ai’s research interest focuses on developing novel microfluidic technologies for particle/cell manipulation and single cell analysis. His research team is also striving to translate their innovative microfluidic technologies to commercial market through collaborations with industry.

Read Dr Ai’s recent Emerging Investigator Series paper: Microfluidic impedance cytometry device with N-shaped electrodes for lateral position measurement of single cells/particles in the most recent issue of Lab on a Chip, and find out more about him and his work below.

 

 

  1. Your recent Emerging Investigator Series paper focuses on measuring the lateral position of single cells or particles. How has your research evolved from your first article to this most recent article?

My first research article when I was a PhD student was to develop a finite element model with dynamically deformed mesh that can simulate the transient motion of finite-size particles in microscale fluid flows. My PhD research mainly focused on electrokinetics for manipulating particles, cells and ions in micro/nanoscale. My postdoctoral training at the Bioscience Division of Los Alamos National Laboratory exposed me to a lot of biological problems, in particular the need in high-throughput cellular analysis at the single cell level. My previous research experience has somehow shaped my current research focus into single cell manipulation and analysis using novel microfluidic technologies when I become an independent principal investigator in Singapore.

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

I am most excited to apply our developed microfluidic technologies for solving real biomedical problems and enabling new biological studies. As an example, in 2017 my team published our single cell sorting technology using a highly focused acoustic beam in Lab Chip (DOI: 10.1039/c7lc00678k). Later, I was approached by quite a number of research teams worldwide who wanted to try our sorting technology. These email communications have encouraged me to apply our developed prototype for real biomedical problems. Right now, I have established collaboration with a few biomedical research institutes in Singapore and we have found that our sorting technology is not causing any cell damage, which is however challenging for conventional FACS machine. We currently have the idea to commercialize this single cell sorting technology. Let us see what is going to happen in the next few years.

  1. In your opinion, what are the key considerations when designing a microfluidic platform for real-time measurements?

My research team is currently developing both hydrodynamic and acoustic cell sorting platforms. The conventional way to quantify the sorting performance (e.g. purity and recovery) is to run additional cell analysis of collected samples, typically using a flow cytometer. In this work (DOI: 10.1039/c9lc00819e), we designed and validated a new impedance cytometry device that enables the measurement of the lateral positions and physical properties of individual particles and cells. The integration of this new device with any cell sorting platform will allow the evaluation of the sorting performance to be implemented in the same system.

The key consideration of integrating these real-time measurements really depends on whether there is a critical need. But I do see a lot of sorting applications need these real-time, in-line measurements for the purposes of quality control and workflow simplification. And any integration will somehow complicate the system and increase the cost, so the other key consideration is the ease of integration. Integration of electronics is generally easier compared to optics, and we are measuring intrinsic biophysical properties rather than labelling approaches; therefore, I do see great opportunities to integrate our new impedance cytometry device with a variety of cell sorting platforms.

  1. What do you find most challenging about your research?

The microfluidics and Lab on a chip research area is interdisciplinary in nature. My challenge is always to find the right people (e.g. students, postdoctoral fellows, collaborators) and secure sufficient resources to work on real impactful research problems.

  1. How do you spend your spare time?

I am trying to make a balance between work and personal life, so I mainly spend my spare time with my family members, especially my second kid is only 8 months old. I also spend some of my spare time to do physical exercise, which can help relax and leave some time for free thinking.

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

I rarely thought about this before. Perhaps I would choose to be a doctor.

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

Based on my own experience, it is important to define a unique research domain based on your own expertise and the surrounding research ecosystem when early career scientists start their independent research. It is also wise to have a clear vision about what you want to achieve in the next five years.

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New thematic collection open for submissions – Single Cell Analysis

We are delighted to announce a new thematic collection in Lab on a Chip, focusing on multimodal single cell analysis, with Professors Daniel T. Chiu and Pratip K. Chattopadhyay as thought leaders.

Daniel Chiu

Professors Chiu and Chattopadhyay describe the current challenges in the field in their recent editorial in Lab on a Chip on “The Next Frontier in Single Cell Analysis: MultiModal Studies and Clinical Translation”:

Biological processes are inherently complex. Stochasticity, redundancy, plasticity, and noise are built into fundamental cellular activities from gene transcription to protein expression. A major challenge in biomedical research is to untangle this complexity. Microarray technology influenced biological research because it demonstrated clearly the wide selection of cellular molecules available for measurement and provided an efficient means to query them. However, microarrays require a large amount of material and assay large numbers of cells together in bulk.

Single cell analysis overcomes the problems of bulk measurements, but for many years the only available technology—flow cytometry—was incapable of highly multiplexed measurements. The current movement in single cell analysis is multimodal characterization. These approaches, which are rapidly replacing one-dimensional single cell analysis in biomedical research, simultaneously combine measurements of transcription with post-transcriptional regulation, epigenetic modifications, and surface protein expression. It is possible that lipid and metabolite composition, and/or cellular morphology may also be analyzed with the transcriptome or proteome.

We now have a dizzying array of tools that provide us with the potential to comprehensively and accurately characterize the cells involved in a biological process. We are a step away from using these tools widely and efficiently to impact clinical care, but there are large obstacles we must break down first. With a better understanding of the complexity ingrained in cellular systems, how do we smartly choose subsets of markers and cell types to survey, remembering that samples from patients are often limited as are research budgets? Once we know what to measure, there is the critical question of how to measure it, since there are a myriad of technical platforms and data analysis tools from which to choose. As we make measurements, how do we ensure that they are robust—are there general validation and quality control principles we can establish, or are such measures wholly platform-specific? Finally, are highly multiplexed, single cell technologies valuable only as a screening tool to identify simple biomarkers, or can these highly complex technologies (and their associated data analysis algorithms) be used directly for clinical diagnostics?

We invite review and research manuscripts that suggest answers to these questions and related issues for inclusion in a thematic collection focused on multimodal single cell analysis. If you are interested in submitting to the collection please contact the Editorial Office.

This collection open for submissions now, and into 2020.

 

If you’re interested in this topic, you can read our previous thematic collection on droplet-based single-cell sequencing here. The articles are free to read until November 15th 2019.

 

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