The application process for The Prototyping Grant 2019 has now been closed.

Archive for November, 2018

Forensic DNA Analysis with Microfluidics

Forensic DNA Analysis with Microfluidics

Short tandem repeat (STR) typing (DNA fingerprints) is the existing gold standard for human forensic identification – easily performed with high-quality, single-contributor genetic samples. The DNA typing technique provides a reliable, rapid and sensitive analysis for parentage testing, forensic identification, and medical diagnostics. However, for evidence samples collected from a crime scene – the amount of DNA retrieved could be at a low concentration due to contributions from multiple individuals (cells, tissue, DNA). Resulting challenges include mixed genotypes in complex biological samples with more than one contributory DNA sample and the preferential amplification of a victim’s DNA compared to a perpetrator’s much rarer cell type. As a result, to reduce the challenges, a variety of strategies were developed to separate diverse cell populations prior to analysis. Techniques include microfluidics-based methods, microchip-based separation, micromanipulation, and laser capture microdissection. Limitations specific to the methods include their complexity, low efficiency, low throughput, lack of versatility and a high likelihood of cross-contamination. (more…)

How Organ-on-a-Chip Technology Might Be Used (and Abused) in the Elective Consumer Space

How Organ-on-a-Chip Technology Might Be Used (and Abused) in the Elective Consumer Space

Names carry weight. The names of prestigious institutions and prolific scientists offer credibility. So too do scientific (and pseudoscientific) monikers: “double-blind clinical trials” assure integrity through rigor, and “superfoods” assure immortality though public misconception. As with “superfoods,” are we too prone to letting our imaginations run wild with scientific hype? Human- and organ-on-a-chip technology commands attention with its abundant potential in drug development and disease research, but also with its name’s sci-fi mystique. (more…)