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Posts Tagged "microfluidics"

Managing Real-State on Centrifugal Microfluidic Platforms

Managing Real-State on Centrifugal Microfluidic Platforms

Centrifugal microfluidic platforms, also called compact microfluidic biodisks or compact disks (CD), have been around for almost four decades and have seen a surge in technology advancement in the last decade1. CDs are used in rapid immunoassaying and clinical biochemistry for blood diagnostics. They are used as micro total analysis systems (μTAS), in which several individual assays are embedded and run simultaneously on a single chip. They operate on simple inexpensive motors programmed for hands-free control and do not require external actuators such as magnets or surface treatments. Basically, CDs are great, and this article should end here. Unfortunately, there is a catch: due to unidirectional (radial) centrifugal forces, CDs run out of real estate faster than non-rotating microfluidic devices. (more…)

Combining the Pieces in Microfluidics for Personalized Cancer Therapy

Combining the Pieces in Microfluidics for Personalized Cancer Therapy

Personalized cancer therapy is a treatment strategy based on the ability to predict which patients are more likely to respond to specific cancer therapies1. Different factors such as tumor biophysical markers, tumor site, patient genetic factors, and characteristics need to be considered in determining a specific therapy for a patient. Tumor biophysical markers including phenotypes and genotypes are associated with patient prognosis and response to therapy as phenotypes like size, shape, stiffness of individual cells within a tumor can be correlated with the state of the disease and genotypic information from DNA, RNA and protein sequencing can reveal genomic alterations. Moreover, patient genetic factors are also important as they can be associated with drug metabolism, drug toxicity, and overall drug response. (more…)

Microfluidic Heat Exchanger, a Unique Solution for Cooling of the Latest Electronic Devices

Microfluidic Heat Exchanger, a Unique Solution for Cooling of the Latest Electronic Devices

When a lot of electro-mechanical systems have been miniaturized and integrated by compact design, thermal management in a small volume should be simultaneously considered. As the devices or systems become smaller, heat flux increases in general. Therefore, an effective cooling strategy for the micro-devices is required especially when the cooling target is made from microfabrication processes. The microfluidic heat exchanger is one of the most promising devices for cooling down the electronic systems because it can be also made by the microfabrication processes1. This device which is also called microchannel heat sink has been considered as an effective heat removal tool and has caught much attention during the past decades, due to its advantages including high heat transfer performance, mild pressure loss and easy fabrication2. (more…)

Commercialisation Opportunities of Microfluidics as Miniaturized Wearable Devices

Commercialisation Opportunities of Microfluidics as Miniaturized Wearable Devices

Microfluidic technology is based on devices capable of handling micro to picolitre amounts of samples, and their applications are diverse ranging from pharmaceuticals, healthcare to the chemical industry. As this technology is being embraced across industries and academic fields, its market value has been steadily increasing into a billion-dollar value. To understand the current and the future market of microfluidics the origin of these “micro-plumbing” devices must be reviewed. Microfluidic technology can first be found in analytic methods such as gas-phase chromatography (GPC), high-pressure liquid (HPLC) and capillary electrophoresis (CE) driven by technological demands in breakthroughs in molecular biology in the 1980s such as genomics and DNA sequencing1. (more…)

Being Able to Build Human Blood Vessels as Organoids from Stem Cells is a Game Changer

Being Able to Build Human Blood Vessels as Organoids from Stem Cells is a Game Changer

The more that is learned about how microfluidic processes control or contribute to cellular change, the sooner science will be able to design a cost-effective medical treatment based on that information. New research on microtubules and blood-vessel organoids augments this.

Recent findings by a team of engineering and medical scientists at Stanford University shed new light on how cell components move around and self-renew. Part of the study’s focus was on the link between microtubules and self-organization. (more…)

Microfluidics Drives Real-Life Applicability of Organoid Advances

Microfluidics Drives Real-Life Applicability of Organoid Advances

Microfluidic engineering advances sustain organoids and fuel the growing stream of organoid uses. As tiny replicas of human organs, organoids are generated layer-by-layer from stem cells, and realistically vascularized by microfluidic systems, enabling life-like blood flow and other fluidic systems. Stem cells nurtured under specific three-dimensional conditions have produced organoids that replicate the architecture of the organ from which they were derived. (more…)

How is Microfluidics Used in Aging Research?

How is Microfluidics Used in Aging Research?

Aging has been always a significant concern for mankind and they have been seeking a solution to overcome this challenge from the beginning. Biology as a scientific method presents important approaches which can revolutionize aging studies. Approaches that improve understanding of the underlying molecular mechanisms of aging, as well as their contributions to age-associated diseases. Studying the replicative aging phenomenon in the budding yeast has led to significant findings on how aging is regulated by evolutionarily conserved enzymes and molecular pathways. Identifying and characterizing the factors that modulate longevity is central to understanding the basic mechanisms of aging. Among model organisms used for research related to aging, the budding yeast has proven to be an important system for defining pathways that influence lifespan. Replicative lifespan is defined by the number of daughter cells a mother cell can produce before senescing. Over the past 10 years, replicative life span analysis has been performed on several thousand yeast strains, identifying several hundred genes that influence replicative longevity.1 (more…)

Exploring Possibilities and Bridging the Gaps in Microfluidics Research

Exploring Possibilities and Bridging the Gaps in Microfluidics Research

Microfluids has come very far since its origin1 and found applications in a broad range of fields. It would be better if I skip the common applications as readers of the blog might be well aware of these applications and bring your attention towards unexplored and emerging new directions in liquid crystal research. The field of microfluidics has barely crossed lines with liquid crystals – nature’s delicate phase of mater2. Liquid crystals are wonderful materials not only because of their beautiful, vibrant textures or their ubiquitous use in the flat panel display technology but also because of their unique molecular alignment which gives them an orientational order like solid and flow properties of liquids. This is why they are sometimes referred to as the fourth state of matter. (more…)

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…)