24 posts · 9,427 views
There are numerous filters to separate particles in liquid based on their size, which can be enough to isolate them; however, particle shape can be more important, as it distinguishes healthy red blood cells from those affected by sickle-cell disease or malaria. Shape can also be used to determine what stage a cell is in of the cell cycle, which would benefit researchers looking for dividing cells. Recent research by Dino Di Carlo of UCLA looks to separate particles of differing aspect ratios co........ Read more »
Masaeli, M., Sollier, E., Amini, H., Mao, W., Camacho, K., Doshi, N., Mitragotri, S., Alexeev, A., & Di Carlo, D. (2012) Continuous Inertial Focusing and Separation of Particles by Shape. Physical Review X, 2(3). DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevX.2.031017
Di Carlo, D., Irimia, D., Tompkins, R., & Toner, M. (2007) Continuous inertial focusing, ordering, and separation of particles in microchannels. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 104(48), 18892-18897. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0704958104
Sugaya, S., Yamada, M., & Seki, M. (2011) Observation of nonspherical particle behaviors for continuous shape-based separation using hydrodynamic filtration. Biomicrofluidics, 5(2), 24103. DOI: 10.1063/1.3580757
In an effort to model the complex processes occurring in human bodies, Donald Ingber has pioneered the development of ‘organs-on-chips,’ reproducing the lung and the gut on microfluidic devices. These systems allow researchers to replicate and study organs without the use of human test subjects. While this is one of the best options, there are too many variables to control, understand, and more importantly, manipulate. At the other end of the spectrum is an in vitro study with a cell........ Read more »
Back when I was in sixth grade, I remember reading a little blurb in some science magazine at school that in the future we could receive shots via a method that would feel as soft as a banana peel. Although I’m now a champ at taking shots, it’s still not a bad idea. We’ve had transdermal patches (think nicotine and birth control) for some time now, but those release their medicine over a period of time. A syringe is capable of delivering a dose at once, and can take a biologica........ Read more »
Strambini LM, Longo A, Diligenti A, & Barillaro G. (2012) A minimally invasive microchip for transdermal injection/sampling applications. Lab on a chip, 12(18), 3370-9. PMID: 22773092
On Microfluidic Future I like reviewing advancements in therapeutic or diagnostic devices because I’m really drawn to those areas of research. Every once in a while, however, I take interest in research for the sake for knowledge, like the Root Chip. I recently came across an article from Dino Di Carlo of UCLA that describes a microfluidic device used to study cancer cells. The article, “Increased Asymmetric and Multi-Daughter Cell Division in Mechanically Confined Microenvironments&........ Read more »
Henry Tat Kwong Tse, Westbrook McConnell Weaver, & Dino Di Carlo. (2012) Increased Asymmetric and Multi-Daughter Cell Division in Mechanically Confined Microenvironments. PLoS ONE, 7(6). info:/
Cells are quite valuable, especially when used for regenerative research, diagnostics or research. But harvested cells do not come presorted and need to be separated from a heterogeneous mixture of cells. There are already numerous methods to sort cells according to biophysical properties such as size, density, morphology, and dielectric or magnetic susceptibility. Cell sorting based on labels can have a higher specificity, but introduces extra steps to add and remove labels, which can affect th........ Read more »
Microfluidic devices are able to process small volumes of liquid and are comprised of microscale components, but the devices themselves are not often small themselves. These labs-on-chips are often limited to lives in labs instead of the remote areas that could really benefit from their use. The limitation comes in the form of support equipment used to process or analyze assays that are expensive, bulky, energy consuming and/or require trained professional operators. Syringe pumps are often used........ Read more »
Li, W., Chen, T., Chen, Z., Fei, P., Yu, Z., Pang, Y., & Huang, Y. (2012) Squeeze-chip: a finger-controlled microfluidic flow network device and its application to biochemical assays. Lab on a Chip, 12(9), 1587. DOI: 10.1039/C2LC40125H
A lot of excitement surrounding microfluidics has been about its promising use in diagnosis in low-resource settings. Many infectious diseases present in developing countries are manageable or treatable with available medications, but still account for 1/3 of deaths. In these areas, multiple diseases present similar symptoms, leading to misdiagnosis and thus incorrect treatment. Hundreds of blood-based microfluidic immunoassays are available for diagnostic purposes, but they’re not all cre........ Read more »
Lafleur, L., Stevens, D., McKenzie, K., Ramachandran, S., Spicar-Mihalic, P., Singhal, M., Arjyal, A., Osborn, J., Kauffman, P., Yager, P.... (2012) Progress toward multiplexed sample-to-result detection in low resource settings using microfluidic immunoassay cards. Lab on a Chip, 12(6), 1119. DOI: 10.1039/C2LC20751F
Microfluidic Future is by no means an accurate representation of all the current, ongoing research in microfluidics. Nevertheless, the fact that you won’t be able to find any articles about assays relying on a biophysical marker isn’t too far off the reality in microfluidics. I suppose this is partly due to the incredible amount of previous work on molecular markers when high resolution control hadn’t been realized yet. Regardless, I was happy to come across an article about a ........ Read more »
Wood DK, Soriano A, Mahadevan L, Higgins JM, & Bhatia SN. (2012) A Biophysical Indicator of Vaso-occlusive Risk in Sickle Cell Disease. Science Translational Medicine, 4(123), 1-8. PMID: 22378926
It’s not hard to see that a lot here at Microfluidic Future focuses on the medical applications of microfluidics, but that doesn’t mean that I’m not interested in other ways the technology can be used. I love to see novel applications of microfluidics because progress for anyone is progress for everyone. That brings me to today’s post on the RootChip. If the name isn’t a total give away, I recently came across an article that uses a microfluidic chip to study the ro........ Read more »
Grossmann, G., Guo, W., Ehrhardt, D., Frommer, W., Sit, R., Quake, S., & Meier, M. (2011) The RootChip: An Integrated Microfluidic Chip for Plant Science. THE PLANT CELL ONLINE, 23(12), 4234-4240. DOI: 10.1105/tpc.111.092577
What’s So Great About Oral Diagnostics?
Well, a lot of things, but let’s start with the basics. In order to use a microfluidic device, you need some type of fluid right? Sure if you had some powder or fine material you could suspend it in a fluid, but for simplicity sake, let’s look at fluids as our test material. If you wanted to run a health-related diagnostic, you only have so many bodily fluids available before you have to get creative and very invasive:
........ Read more »
Giannobile, W., McDevitt, J., Niedbala, R., & Malamud, D. (2011) Translational and Clinical Applications of Salivary Diagnostics. Advances in Dental Research, 23(4), 375-380. DOI: 10.1177/0022034511420434
Biomimetics. I love that word. Well, probably not as much as microfluidics, but it’s a close second. If you’re unfamiliar with the word, it basically refers to design that mimics biology. Biological systems have evolved into finely tuned machines, why not mimic them in order to synthesize what we need? Biomimetics isn’t new, it’s been around in one form or another for a long time (my favorite instance is Velcro), but our capabilities are broadening as we are able to manuf........ Read more »
Kang, E., Jeong, G., Choi, Y., Lee, K., Khademhosseini, A., & Lee, S. (2011) Digitally tunable physicochemical coding of material composition and topography in continuous microfibres. Nature Materials, 10(11), 877-883. DOI: 10.1038/nmat3108
How would you detect a heart attack? There are some symptoms that might tell you that you are very likely having a heart attack. Although you might feel pain in the chest, shortness of breath or other known physical symptoms, that doesn’t mean you in are actually having one. Conversely, you may not experience these symptoms but an attack is well on its way. In addition to painful symptoms, an electrocardiogram can be used to further indicate if you’re having a heart attack, but it al........ Read more »
Du, N., Chou, J., Kulla, E., Floriano, P., Christodoulides, N., & McDevitt, J. (2011) A disposable bio-nano-chip using agarose beads for high performance immunoassays. Biosensors and Bioelectronics, 28(1), 251-256. DOI: 10.1016/j.bios.2011.07.027
Whether you’ve been learning about microfluidics here at Microfluidic Future or somewhere else, you’ve undoubtedly come across the elastomer poly(dimethylsiloxane) (PDMS). PDMS has radically changed the capabilities of microfluidics (and its price tag) since it was first brought into microfluidics by George Whitesides in 1998. PDMS has effectively replaced glass and silicon which were borrowed from existing micromachining industries. PDMS has great resolution and can contain sub-0.1 ........ Read more »
McDonald, J., & Whitesides, G. (2002) Poly(dimethylsiloxane) as a Material for Fabricating Microfluidic Devices. Accounts of Chemical Research, 35(7), 491-499. DOI: 10.1021/ar010110q
Ovarian cancer is the fifth leading cause of cancer related mortality among women. Like many diseases, there is a stark difference in survival rates depending on detection times. When ovarian cancer is detected at stage I, there is a 90% 5 year survival rate. Compare that with the 33% 5 year survival rate when the ovarian cancer is detected in stage III and IV. This disease is unfortunately asymptomatic at early stages, drastically eliminating the odds of discovery with enough time to make a dif........ Read more »
Wang, S., Zhao, X., Khimji, I., Akbas, R., Qiu, W., Edwards, D., Cramer, D., Ye, B., & Demirci, U. (2011) Integration of cell phone imaging with microchip ELISA to detect ovarian cancer HE4 biomarker in urine at the point-of-care. Lab on a Chip, 11(20), 3411. DOI: 10.1039/C1LC20479C
Sepsis is a big killer here in the United States. I know that I don’t really think about that in a normal day, but it’s the truth, and we can’t ignore it. As of 2005, it was the 10th leading cause of death and was just one of two infectious conditions listed in the leading 15 causes of death. Sepsis develops in 750,000 Americans annually, and more than 210,000 die. (That’s a mortality rate of 28 %!) Sepsis not only kills, but it’s accountable for $16.7 billion in an........ Read more »
Melamed, A., & Sorvillo, F. (2009) The burden of sepsis-associated mortality in the United States from 1999 to 2005: an analysis of multiple-cause-of-death data. Critical Care, 13(1). DOI: 10.1186/cc7733
You could say that valves in microfluidics (or microvalves) are like street lights that control traffic along microfluidic channels. But I’d say that they’re more like police barricades, stopping anyone they want, wherever they want. The sole purpose of microvalves is to control flow within a microfluidics device, allowing them to become very complex and more automated. Without microvalves, all reactions and mixing must occur in the same space, unless they were premixed elsewhere, wh........ Read more »
Elizabeth Hulme, S., Shevkoplyas, S., & Whitesides, G. (2009) Incorporation of prefabricated screw, pneumatic, and solenoid valves into microfluidic devices. Lab on a Chip, 9(1), 79. DOI: 10.1039/b809673b
Hey, how’s your biotin? What? No it’s not an organic metal, maybe you call it B7? You’re probably fine, but have you been depressed, lethargic or losing your hair lately? Biotin is pretty important; it’s necessary for metabolism within our cells, so I make sure I never leave home without it. It’s rare for someone to have a biotin deficiency, but if you want to know your levels, give me a drop of your blood, and I’ll have an answer from you in 10 minutes. How? Oh just my self-powered ........ Read more »
Dimov, I., Basabe-Desmonts, L., Garcia-Cordero, J., Ross, B., Ricco, A., & Lee, L. (2011) Stand-alone self-powered integrated microfluidic blood analysis system (SIMBAS). Lab on a Chip, 11(5), 845. DOI: 10.1039/C0LC00403K
Microfluidic chemostat used to study microbes
I don’t quite have the resources to poll the United States and the rest of the world, but if I did, this is what I’d ask:
Do you know what microfluidics is?
Can you explain it to me?
Do you currently use anything with this technology?
We may never know the results of the poll, but I think I'd hear "No" for most of them. Have no fear, because today you’re lucky enough to read my Beginner’s Guide to Microfluidics.
To start with...... Read more »
Cardiopulmonary BypassCardiopulmonary Bypass (source) More than 1,000 adult and 50 pediatric patients undergo a surgery involving cardiopulmonary bypass (CPB) each day in the United States. A CPB is used when performing surgery on the heart or lungs, leaving them unable to perform their normal functions. But CPB introduces a lot of foreign material to the body, creating adverse reactions. The CPB assembly, drugs and surgical processes can each have t........ Read more »
Aran, K., Fok, A., Sasso, L., Kamdar, N., Guan, Y., Sun, Q., Ündar, A., & Zahn, J. (2011) Microfiltration platform for continuous blood plasma protein extraction from whole blood during cardiac surgery. Lab on a Chip, 11(17), 2858. DOI: 10.1039/C1LC20080A
CartilageOur bodies are pretty much amazing. We can get hurt, and our bodies will heal our cuts and bones (with the right support). But not everything heals so easily, like cartilage. The cartilage in our joints is called hyaline cartilage and can be damaged from trauma or diseases like osteoarthritis. The other cartilages like elastic cartilage (found in our ears and nose) and fibrocartilage (found on tendons and ligaments) are a bit of a different story. The hyaline cartilage found on the arti........ Read more »
Hutmacher, D. (2000) Scaffolds in tissue engineering bone and cartilage. Biomaterials, 21(24), 2529-2543. DOI: 10.1016/S0142-9612(00)00121-6
Temenoff, J., & Mikos, A. (2000) Review: tissue engineering for regeneration of articular cartilage. Biomaterials, 21(5), 431-440. DOI: 10.1016/S0142-9612(99)00213-6
Wang, C., Yang, K., Lin, K., Liu, H., & Lin, F. (2011) A highly organized three-dimensional alginate scaffold for cartilage tissue engineering prepared by microfluidic technology. Biomaterials, 32(29), 7118-7126. DOI: 10.1016/j.biomaterials.2011.06.018
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