LabChip_Emerging_Explorers by primusboy

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                                                                              PROFILE                                                                                                www.rsc.org/loc | Lab on a Chip


                                                                              Contributors to the Emerging Investigators issue
                                                                              DOI: 10.1039/c0lc90044c



                                                                              This is the first time that Lab on a Chip has    Amar is assistant professor of electrical         is another engineering challenge which
                                                                              put together an issue that features the         engineering and biomedical engineering            needs to be addressed. Generally speaking,
                                                                              younger members of the community that           at Wayne State University. His research           the highly interdisciplinary nature of this
                                                                              are potential rising stars. We often hear       interests are in developing multiphase            research (involving fluidic phenomena,
                                                                              the opinions of supervisors and leaders in      fluidic and electronic technologies for high      electronic detection/control, chemistry/
                                                                              the field, but rarely do we hear the voices of   throughput screening in systems biology.          biochemistry, and biology) makes it
                                                                              students, post-docs or young researchers.       Amar was a recipient of the Whitaker              enjoyable but also challenging. Finding
Published on 18 August 2010 on http://pubs.rsc.org | doi:10.1039/C0LC90044C




                                                                              Therefore we decided to elicit the opinions     Foundation Biomedical Engineering                 collaborators willing to invest time in high-
                                                                              of these emerging investigators on issues of    Fellowship, and was voted IEEE Professor          risk technologies, and training new students
                                                                              current concern, such as the killer appli-      of the Year by students 2009. His work as a       in multiple skill-sets requires patience and
                                                                              cation, bottlenecks and issues as well as the   consultant with Mobius Microsystems and           earnest effort.
                                                                              future for this field. Their responses to        Picocal has resulted in a several US                 (3) I think that there is considerable
                                                                              the questions listed below are included         patents.                                          promise in high throughput screening and
                                                                              at the end of each biography and we hope           (1) I think the killer app. will be high       droplet-based screening in particular.
                                                                              they give an idea of what problems young        throughput screening for systems biology.         Although there are many practical issues
                                                                              researchers face and their outlook and          The US National Research Council (NRC)            which need to be addressed, the ability to
                                                                              aspirations.                                    emphasizes that next generation solutions         perform screening in pL and fL volumes at
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                                                                                 (1) What is your view of the ‘‘killer        to societal challenges in health, energy,         unprecedented throughputs has the poten-
                                                                              application’’?                                  food, and environment will be driven by           tial to transform biology in a profound way.
                                                                                 (2) What are the main difficulties you        a more comprehensive understanding of             For example, we are already starting to see
                                                                              face working in this area of research?          complex pathways and interactions in bio-         screens in the range of millions which can
                                                                                 (3) What do you think the future holds       logical organisms. Accordingly, biological        be used for optimizing and evolving new
                                                                              for this field and these technologies?           research is evolving from reductionist            enzymes, as well as new biological studies
                                                                                                                              studies of single proteins and genes to           at ultra-low volumes. Given the rapid pace
                                                                              Amar Basu                                       system-wide ‘omics’ studies involving             of technology development and its growing
                                                                                                                              thousands of genes, proteins, and environ-        need in systems biology, I believe that
                                                                                                                              mental conditions. This new model of              multiphase fluidics will play a central role
                                                                                                                              research clearly requires instrumentation         in the future of lab-on-a-chip technologies.
                                                                                                                              which can perform large-scale screens at
                                                                                                                              a reasonable cost. Microfluidics, particu-         Karen C. Cheung
                                                                                                                              larly droplet-based fluidics, is well positioned
                                                                                                                              to make HTS affordable to researchers by
                                                                                                                              dramatically reducing reagent consumption
                                                                                                                              (the most significant cost of HTS) and
                                                                                                                              capital costs of laboratory automation.
                                                                                                                              Equally       important,    the      ultra-high
                                                                                                                              throughput capability of droplet-based
                                                                                                                              fluidics is leading to promising new screening
                                                                                                                              protocols, such as directed evolution.
                                                                                                                                 (2) Interfaces and methods which convert
                                                                                                                              screening libraries between the macro and
                                                                              Amar Basu was born in Rochester,                micro domains are particularly challenging
                                                                              Michigan in 1978. He received BSE and           in droplet systems due to the precise
                                                                              MSE degrees in electrical engineering in        volumes and high throughputs needed, as
                                                                              2001 and 2003, an MS degree in biomed-          well as the large number of compounds in
                                                                              ical engineering in 2005, and a Ph.D. in        typical screening libraries. Other chal-
                                                                              electrical engineering in 2008, all with        lenges include detection in small volumes,        Karen C. Cheung received her Ph.D.
                                                                              honors from the University of Michigan.         interdroplet diffusion, and the difficulty in      degree in bioengineering from the
                                                                              Amar has worked for Intel’s Advanced            performing complex fluidic handling (such          University of California, Berkeley, in 2002.
                                                                              Technology group, General Motors,               as washing steps) required for immunolog-         From 2002–2005, she was a postdoctoral
                                                                              Silicon Graphics, and served as an              ical and other heterogeneous assays. Being        researcher at the Ecole Polytechnique
                                                                              adjunct faculty member at the University        able to integrate and automate high speed           e e
                                                                                                                                                                                Fdrale de Lausanne, Lausanne, Swit-
                                                                              of Michigan from 2007–2008. Currently,          fluidic operations in a user friendly package      zerland. She is now an Assistant Professor

                                                                              This journal is ª The Royal Society of Chemistry 2010                                                                                 Lab Chip
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                                                                              at the University of British Columbia,          developing novel solutions to current unmet      the University of Toronto. He obtained
                                                                              Vancouver, BC, Canada. Her research             experimental and clinical needs through          his Ph.D. from the Swiss Federal Insti-
                                                                              interests include lab-on-a-chip systems         applying simple microfabricated devices.         tute of Technology (ETH) in Zurich and
                                                                              for cell culture and characterization,             (1) For academic research, this would be      conducted postdoctoral research at
                                                                              inkjet printing for tissue engineering, and     a device that tests new hypothesis or            MIT. He has published >25 papers,
                                                                              micro- and nanoscale implantable neural         enables new experimental possibilities that      patented 3 inventions (patent families)
                                                                              interfaces.                                     would not be possible with currently avail-      and has received the ETH medal (2002),
                                                                                 (1) The killer app. might be successful      able and standardized methods. For               Ontario Early Researcher Award (2009)
                                                                              replacement of entire animal studies using      a commercial product, this would be a device     and I.W. Smith Award of the Canadian
                                                                              engineered constructs for drug testing.         that someone would want to buy. There are        Society for Mechanical Engineering
                                                                                 (2) Students working in this area are very   several useful LOC devices currently avail-                       u
                                                                                                                                                                               (2010). Dr G€nther is the Scientific
                                                                              open-minded and they welcome the chal-          able that started in academic labs and           Director of a new Centre for Micro-
                                                                              lenges in learning and understanding            turned into products such as chemotaxis          fluidic Systems in Chemistry and Biology
Published on 18 August 2010 on http://pubs.rsc.org | doi:10.1039/C0LC90044C




                                                                              concepts in these interdisciplinary projects.   assays, protein crystallization platforms,       in Toronto.
                                                                              We need to be able to find more collaborators    and high throughput PCR. The commercial             (1) Ultimately successful applications
                                                                              in medicine and biology who have the time       successes of these will enable more to follow.   of a technology are often found in quite
                                                                              and are willing to work with us in order        However, even if there is no killer applica-     unexpected and less obvious areas. In the
                                                                              to really develop the technology for real       tion bringing LOC devices to every               area of biology, I see great opportunities
                                                                              applications.                                   biomedical research lab, they will remain as     in the comprehensive in vitro investiga-
                                                                                 (3) Although these technologies will         powerful tools enabling new possibilities.       tion of engineered tissues, small intact
                                                                              bring a lot of benefit to our laboratory            (2) The main difficulty is identifying         organs and organisms. In our contribu-
                                                                              diagnostics, a larger impact may be seen in     interesting new device designs that are also     tion to this Special Issue, we demonstrate
                                                                              underdeveloped and poor communities.            useful tools that others would benefit from       to our knowledge the first scalable
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                                                                              There, lab on a chip can be used to address     and have not been previously demonstrated.       approach allowing the structure and
                                                                              global health issues. In developed nations,     I have many interesting ideas, but only          function of intact cardiovascular tissues
                                                                              lab on a chip may bring incremental             a limited set would be useful.                   to be assessed in health and disease (e.g.,
                                                                              (some) improvement to healthcare. In the           (3) I think LOC devices will continue to      heart failure, diabetes, vasculopathies,
                                                                              rest of the world, cheap, disposable, and       offer new solutions for unmet experimental       tumor biology, and toxicology). The
                                                                              rapid lab on a chip analysis could bring        and clinical needs. The field is beginning to     ability to routinely probe small artery
                                                                              much more dramatic improvement to               transition from proof of concept demon-          function is expected to have wide impli-
                                                                              quality of life.                                strations to using these devices to learn        cations in cardiovascular drug develop-
                                                                                                                              something new. Even if few of these become       ment and, ultimately, personalized
                                                                              David T. Eddington                              commercial realities, they will continue to      medicine. I expect lab-on-a-chip systems
                                                                                                                              offer exciting possibilities for the research    to continue in providing new technolog-
                                                                                                                              community.                                       ical solutions that potentially translate to
                                                                                                                                                                               a number of disciplines, including the by
                                                                                                                                    €
                                                                                                                              Axel Gunther                                     now obvious candidates: analytical
                                                                                                                                                                               chemistry, molecular and cell biology,
                                                                                                                                                                               organic chemical synthesis. To comple-
                                                                                                                                                                               ment the creation of new technologies, the
                                                                                                                                                                               scientific community has often to do
                                                                                                                                                                               a better job of translating microfluidic
                                                                                                                                                                               devices into commercially viable solu-
                                                                                                                                                                               tions. Only that way, microfluidic
                                                                                                                                                                               systems have a chance to become broadly
                                                                                                                                                                               available, mass-produced commodities.
                                                                                                                                                                               This translational aspect is not yet suffi-
                                                                                                                                                                               ciently addressed, partly because a true
                                                                                                                                                                               translation of the technology and not a
                                                                              David T. Eddington received a B.S.                                                               mere mass-production of a chip are
                                                                              degree in materials science and engi-                                                            required. Robust and seamless fluidic
                                                                              neering from the University of Illinois at                                                       world-to-chip interconnects and also
                                                                              Urbana-Champaign and Ph.D. degree in                                                             hybrid concepts that allow us to combine
                                                                              biomedical engineering from the Univer-                                                          existing (analytical) technology and lab-
                                                                              sity of Wisconsin-Madison. He joined the                u
                                                                                                                              Axel G€nther is an Assistant Professor           on-a-chip systems are of the essence.
                                                                              Department of Bioengineering at the             in the Department of Mechanical and                 (2) I thoroughly enjoy working in this
                                                                              University of Illinois at Chicago in 2006       Industrial Engineering with cross-               field and don’t face too many difficulties. I
                                                                              after a postdoc in the HST program at           appointment to the Institute of Bioma-           actually think that researchers in our field
                                                                              Harvard/MIT. His research interests include     terials and Biomedical Engineering at            are quite fortunate, given the diverse

                                                                              Lab Chip                                                                               This journal is ª The Royal Society of Chemistry 2010
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                                                                              range of opportunities. A challenge that is     with powerful high-content screening           platform we use. Other important areas
                                                                              common to everyone conducting interdis-         platforms.                                     include point of care diagnostics, chemical
                                                                              ciplinary science is the necessity of                                                          screening, chemical synthesis, protein
                                                                              researchers with very different training        Carl Hansen                                    engineering, and environmental moni-
                                                                              attacking all (or most) aspects of                                                             toring. I expect that each of these appli-
                                                                              a problem, not just the aspects closest to                                                     cations will demand its own flavor of
                                                                              their traditional scientific training and                                                       microfluidics.
                                                                              experience. A microfluidics researcher                                                             (2) In our work we have been fortunate to
                                                                              working on a cardiovascular question for                                                       interface with excellent collaborators from
                                                                              instance, will need to ultimately think                                                        the biological sciences. This interaction is
                                                                              about basic questions in vascular biology,                                                     critical to working effectively in the field of
                                                                              and vice versa. Only such a multifaceted                                                       microfluidics and also sets a high bar for new
                                                                              approach will lead to the detailed scien-                                                      technologies. I would say that in our
Published on 18 August 2010 on http://pubs.rsc.org | doi:10.1039/C0LC90044C




                                                                              tific discussions, sometimes controversial                                                      research the plumbing is now a solved
                                                                              ones, necessary to answer relevant ques-                                                       problem. The main challenges are (i) finding
                                                                              tions, not just device a ‘‘new toy’’. To                                                       innovative ways to outperform existing
                                                                              reflect this need and comprehensively                                                           methods, (ii) getting control over the biology
                                                                              train future graduate students across                                                          and the chemistry, and (iii) engineering
                                                                              disciplines     involving       nano/micro-                                                    a system to be reliable and robust.
                                                                              fabrication, cell and vascular biology,                                                           (3) Microfluidics research will continue
                                                                              analytical and materials chemistry, fluid        Carl Hansen is a an Assistant Professor in     to thrive as a field with the emphasis
                                                                              mechanics and transport phenomena,              the Department of Physics and                  increasingly turned towards applications.
                                                                              approximately ten colleagues and I at the       Astronomy at the University of British         Although accelerated adoption of new
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                                                                              University of Toronto and its associated        Columbia and the recently established          technologies will be driven by commercial-
                                                                              Teaching Hospitals and York University          UBC Center for High Throughput Biology.        ization, the range of applications will likely
                                                                              in Canada, Corning, Inc. (Corning, N.Y.)        Dr Hansen holds a BASc in Engineering          grow more slowly than demand. This means
                                                                              and CMC Microsystems (Kingston, ON)             Physics and a PhD in Applied Physics from      that customized technologies will be
                                                                              have recently launched the six year             the California Institute of Technology. He     increasingly important and this will require
                                                                              graduate training program in Micro-             is a Michael Smith Scholar in Biomedical       more labs that can work effectively across
                                                                              fluidic Applications and Training in             Research, a Canadian Institute for Health      disciplines. Moving forward I expect that
                                                                              Cardiovascular Health (MATCH).                  Research New Investigator, and holds an        the leaders in the field will be primarily
                                                                                 (3) The future of this field is excep-        affiliate faculty membership at the Insti-      concerned with answering biological ques-
                                                                              tionally    promising,     for     university   tute for Systems Biology in Seattle. The       tions, using microfluidics as one of several
                                                                              researchers as well as for companies. The       Hansen lab works on the development            key experimental approaches.
                                                                              fact that commercial ‘‘killer applications’’    and application of microfluidic systems
                                                                              have yet to be demonstrated currently           for applied and fundamental research in        Tony Jun Huang
                                                                              gives university researchers an edge in         genomics and cell biology. This inter-
                                                                              securing intellectual property. Companies       disciplinary work uses methods ranging
                                                                              on the other hand can adapt microfluidic         from microengineering, to single mole-
                                                                              technologies to their existing markets and      cule detection, to live-cell microscopy.
                                                                              expertise to serve real commercial needs        Specific research questions are focused
                                                                              with new technological solutions. Here are      around the themes of single cell analysis
                                                                              a few bolder options. Soon, we will likely      and genomic diagnostics with applica-
                                                                              see distributed, iPhone or iPad operated        tions in the fields of stem cell science,
                                                                              integrated microfluidic platforms that are       cancer biology, microbiology, small
                                                                              portable, automated and will allow chal-        RNA, and immunology.
                                                                              lenging chemical reactions that are                (1) I wouldn’t say there is one obvious
                                                                              otherwise confined to fume hoods or glove        ‘‘Killer application’’ in microfluidics.
                                                                              boxes to be routinely carried out. Low cost     Handling fluids is fundamental and micro-
                                                                              analytical devices will be widely used to       fluidics will likely have impact in research
                                                                              screen water samples for pathogens and to       areas ranging from genetics, to diagnostics,
                                                                              comprehensively assess the interaction          to drug discovery. Ultimately the best
                                                                              between carbon dioxide and sea water to         applications are the ones that not only        Tony Jun Huang is an Associate
                                                                              gain an improved understanding of the           benefit both from economy of scale, but         Professor in the Department of Engi-
                                                                              carbon balance in the world’s oceans. With      also are fundamentally improved in mi-         neering Science and Mechanics at The
                                                                              respect to biological applications, tissue      crofluidic implementations. In our work we      Pennsylvania State University. He
                                                                              culture and life-cell imaging will be           have identified genomics and cell biology as    received his Ph.D. degree in Mechanical
                                                                              combined and broadly available in intui-        important areas for development and these      Engineering from the University of Cal-
                                                                              tive, portable devices as well as integrated    are well-suited to the specific technology      ifornia, Los Angeles (UCLA) in 2005, and

                                                                              This journal is ª The Royal Society of Chemistry 2010                                                                              Lab Chip
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                                                                              his B.S. and M.S. degrees in Energy and             ‘‘conveniently’’ overlooked in the past;           in the form of lateral flow diagnostic systems
                                                                              Power Engineering from Xi’an Jiaotong               however, this situation has to change before       such as pregnancy tests that abide to the
                                                                              University, China, in 1996 and 1999,                the field of microfluidics and lab-on-a-chip         ‘‘sample in – answer out’’ vision of a lab on
                                                                              respectively. His research is focused on (1)        lives up to its potential. Although chal-          a chip applied to diagnostics. The question to
                                                                              multi-physics of active nanostructures,             lenges remain, I am optimistic that with so        me is ‘‘what can LOC contribute to science
                                                                              and (2) multi-physics of microfluidics and           many talented people working in this field,         and society?’’ LOC devices will benefit
                                                                              lab-on-a-chip systems, including acoustic           the lab-on-a-chip community will be able to        science as an enabler for new research, and
                                                                              microfluidics and optofluidics. He has                deliver many useful tools to support appli-        society directly by means of better diag-
                                                                              authored or coauthored over 100 technical           cations, innovations, and discoveries and          nostics; there are already several devices in
                                                                              publications in these fields. His work on            have significant impact in the fields of             use for emergency care and they will likely
                                                                              lab-on-a-chip has been highlighted in               biology, chemistry, and engineering.               expand from there.
                                                                              National Science Foundation and many                                                                      (2) The interdisciplinary nature of our
                                                                              public media such as US News and World              David Juncker                                      work, ranging from the development of
Published on 18 August 2010 on http://pubs.rsc.org | doi:10.1039/C0LC90044C




                                                                              Report, Yahoo News, Live Science,                                                                      novel microfabrication processes for
                                                                              Medical News Today, Science Daily, Wired                                                               making LOC, to yeast cell analysis and to
                                                                              Science, Popular Mechanics, Highlights in                                                              multiplex biomarker validation in breast
                                                                              Chemical Technology, Nanotechnology                                                                    cancer patients sometimes leaves my brain
                                                                              Now, and R&D Magazine. More infor-                                                                     fuming. But by working together as a team
                                                                              mation about him and his research group                                                                with my students and collaborators, we are
                                                                              can be found at www.esm.psu.edu/huang/.                                                                able to tackle such complex questions while
                                                                                  (1) There are many important fields                                                                 expanding our knowledge and having a lot
                                                                              (e.g., rapid point-of-care diagnostics) in                                                             of fun at the same time!
                                                                              which lab-on-a-chip systems can be quite                                                                  (3) The range of applications of LOC is
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                                                                              useful. Many on-chip technologies devel-                                                               staggering as it ranges from basic studies of
                                                                              oped in recent years have shown superior                                                               fluid physics, to the manipulation of live
                                                                              performance and have great potential to                                                                organisms, and so is the range of applica-
                                                                              lead to ‘‘killer applications’’. However, I                                                            tions. LOC will be used increasingly as
                                                                              believe the key is whether we can provide                                                              a research tool, although they will probably
                                                                              simple and robust techniques that work well         David Juncker was born in Switzerland,             be more an enabler rather than the end
                                                                              outside research labs. Fancy techniques             in 1973. He studied electronics-physics at         product, as for example in next generation
                                                                              that are not reliable or are difficult to                                         a
                                                                                                                                  the University of Neuch^tel in Switzer-            sequencers that all integrate some micro-
                                                                              employ in the real world just won’t cut it. I       land, and spent one year at the National           fluidic aspects, but are not particularly
                                                                              have heard many complaints from the                 Institute of Metrology in Japan in 1998.           advertising it. The greatest opportunity for
                                                                              industry and colleagues that many devices           He was at the IBM Zurich Research                  LOC lies in new applications where there is
                                                                              currently developed are actually ‘‘Chips-in-        Laboratory under the supervision of                no precedent or alternative. I thus think
                                                                              a-Lab’’, rather than ‘‘Labs-on-a-Chip’’.            Emmanuel Delamarche between 1999                   that personalized medicine, which will
                                                                                  (2) In my opinion, one of the main diffi-        and 2004 and received his PhD in 2002              require the repeated analyses of multiple
                                                                              culties in our field is that there is little to no                                       a
                                                                                                                                  from the University of Neuch^tel. After            molecular markers to monitor disease
                                                                              incentive for university laboratories to            spending one year as a Post-doc at the             progression and response to treatment, will
                                                                              invest limited research funds to address            ETH Zurich, he joined the Biomedical               be one of the many areas that will drive the
                                                                              current challenges in applying our lab-on-          Engineering Department of McGill                   emergence of novel LOC-based systems.
                                                                              a-chip devices to real-world applications.          University in Montreal as an assistant
                                                                                                                                  professor in 2005. He currently holds
                                                                                                                                                                                     Hirokazu Kaji
                                                                              The pressure (especially for funding
                                                                              purposes) is always to come up with ‘‘novel’’       a Canada Research Chair and directs the
                                                                              concepts and ‘‘novel’’ designs. Getting             Micro and Nanobioengineering lab. His
                                                                              funding support to perfect our existing             current research interests are capillary-
                                                                              devices (so that it will actually do their job      force based microfluidics (including yarn-
                                                                              in real-world applications) is difficult.            based devices) for diagnostics, antibody
                                                                                  (3) I believe that as researchers, although     microarrays for biomarker discovery,
                                                                              it is vital to constantly push the envelope of      nanocontact printing and microfluidic
                                                                              technology and innovation, we need to               probes for microenvironment control of
                                                                              spend a little bit more time thinking about         neurons, and lab on a chip systems for cell
                                                                              how to convert some of existing technolo-           culture, cell filtering, and model organism
                                                                              gies into marketable products. I believe            manipulation.
                                                                              that there are many technological chal-                (1) The question of the killer application is
                                                                              lenges that need to be overcome so as to            one that I have heard repeatedly, and I think
                                                                              ensure technologies that work well in the           it’s already there, we just haven’t realized it.
                                                                              labs will also work well in the real world.         The LOC killer application existed before          Hirokazu Kaji is an Assistant Professor
                                                                              Many of these challenges have been                  the concept of LOC was formulated, namely          at Department of Bioengineering and

                                                                              Lab Chip                                                                                     This journal is ª The Royal Society of Chemistry 2010
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                                                                              Robotics at the Graduate School of               Harvard University. He has edited 3
                                                                              Engineering, Tohoku University, Japan.           books and authored over 100 journal
                                                                              He received his Ph.D. (2005) in Bioengi-         papers, 30 chapters and 17 patent appli-
                                                                              neering, M.Eng. (2003) in Biomolecular           cations. His research efforts have earned
                                                                              Engineering, and B.Eng. (2001) in                him the TR35 Award, the ALA Innova-
                                                                              Molecular Chemistry and Engineering              tion Award, the early career awards from
                                                                              from Tohoku University. His current              AIChE, NSF, ONR, EMBS, IAMBE and
                                                                              interests include surface chemistry, mi-         BMW, as well as the ACS’s LaMer and
                                                                              crofluidics, biomaterials, and the appli-         the Unilever awards.
                                                                              cation of micro- and nanotechnologies in            (1) In my view the ‘‘killer application’’ of
                                                                              the fields of cell and tissue engineering.        lab on a chip devices is still eluding the field.
                                                                                 (1) The ‘‘killer application’’ for lab on     Clearly there have been some commercial
                                                                              a chip technology has yet to be found from       successes in various diagnostics and
Published on 18 August 2010 on http://pubs.rsc.org | doi:10.1039/C0LC90044C




                                                                              the point of view of biological applications.    analytical areas, however, there has always
                                                                              More research is required to find suitable        been a greater commercial potential than
                                                                              applications that yield biologically mean-       what has been realized so far. If history          current research interests include micro-
                                                                              ingful outcomes in a simple manner. Also,        from other scientific areas, such as tissue         fluidics, soft condensed matter physics,
                                                                              assessment of the value of such applications     engineering, may indicate, the killer appli-       colloid science, plasmonic nanomaterials
                                                                              by biologists will be important.                 cations often arrive with increased matu-          and chemical reaction engineering. His
                                                                                 (2) This area is multidisciplinary and has    rity of the field. Personally I feel that the       research group at NUS focuses on
                                                                              many researchers from various fields.             killer applications may involve the use of         various aspects of microscale fluid
                                                                              Although communicating with researchers          BioMEMs systems for therapeutic appli-             physics and phenomena, with the aim of
                                                                              from other fields may be difficult in a short      cations as biological tissue substitutes or        developing new experimental methods
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                                                                              period of time, collaboration with such          miniaturized implants.                             for chemistry and biology that comple-
                                                                              researchers based on mutual understanding           (2) The major challenge of the applica-         ment or extend existing macroscopic
                                                                              is very exciting.                                tion of the microdevices in tissue engi-           methods.
                                                                                 (3) Micro- and nanoscale technologies         neering has been the inherent limitation of           (1) We envision rapid, online, sequential
                                                                              have provided some insight into funda-           the microfabrication technologies as a two-        separations from minuscule volumes of
                                                                              mental cell biology as well as cell and tissue   dimensional platform. We and others have           complex biological mixtures, containing
                                                                              engineering. This knowledge will be used to      developed a number of approaches to                large macromolecules (DNA, RNA,
                                                                              direct cell fates as a cell source or to be      bridge the gap between the 2D micro-               proteins, polysaccharides, etc.), smaller
                                                                              incorporated into newly designed biomate-        fabrication techniques and 3D microenvi-           oligomeric molecules (such as micro-RNA)
                                                                              rials capable of controlling cell behavior.      ronments that are experienced by the cells         and other components such as salts. This is
                                                                              The continued challenges in this area will       in the body. However, despite much prog-           currently an extremely challenging time
                                                                              enable the creation of more physiologically      ress this remains a challenge in the field.         and resource intensive task.
                                                                              relevant models suitable for fabricating            (3) The future looks bright for lab on             (2) The most exciting aspect of this area
                                                                              tissues and make drug development and            a chip technologies. In particular diagnostic      of research, which can also be the most
                                                                              toxicology screening more reliable while         devices and high-throughput screening              daunting, is its inter-disciplinary nature.
                                                                              decreasing the need for animal testing.          systems may revolutionize medicine and drug        Therefore, one of the key challenges is
                                                                                                                               discovery processes. Also, microengineering        maintaining a constant and vigorous dia-
                                                                                                                               approaches look highly promising for               logue between experts from different
                                                                              Ali Khademhosseini                               generating 3D engineered tissues for regen-        scientific disciplines, and also between us,
                                                                                                                               erative medicine and in vitro tissue models.       the ‘method developers’, and potential end-
                                                                                                                                                                                  users.
                                                                                                                                                                                     (3) The field of ‘compartmentalized’
                                                                                                                               Saif A. Khan
                                                                                                                                                                                  microfluidics with droplets and bubbles
                                                                                                                                                                                  has rapidly expanded in the past few
                                                                                                                               Saif A. Khan was born in Mumbai,                   years. Droplet-based chemical and bio-
                                                                                                                               India, in 1979. He received his Ph.D. in           logical assays, essentially minaturized
                                                                                                                               chemical engineering from the Massa-               versions of macroscale experimental
                                                                                                                               chusetts Institute of Technology in 2006,          protocols, have been well demonstrated
                                                                                                                               where he was an R. T. Haslam Presi-                and have led to commercial ventures. The
                                                                                                                               dential Fellow. In 2006 he joined the              near future will see microfluidic methods
                                                                                                                               National University of Singapore (NUS)             that go beyond simply miniaturizing es-
                                                                                                                               as Assistant Professor in chemical and             tablished macroscale protocols, offering
                                                                                                                               biomolecular engineering. He was                   fundamentally new capabilities that
                                                                              Ali Khademhosseini is a faculty member           appointed Fellow of the Singapore-MIT              leverage     physical      and     chemical
                                                                              at Harvard-MIT’s Division of HST,                Alliance (SMA) in chemical and                     phenomena specific to confined micro- and
                                                                              Brigham and Women’s Hospital and                 pharmaceutical engineering in 2007. His            nanoscale fluid spaces.

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                                                                              Michelle Khine                                                                                      interested in deploying these technologies
                                                                                                                                                                                  as research tools, so I’m quite hopeful
                                                                                                                                                                                  about the future.


                                                                                                                                                                                  J. Christopher Love
Published on 18 August 2010 on http://pubs.rsc.org | doi:10.1039/C0LC90044C




                                                                                                                              Biomedical and Mechanical Engineering.
                                                                                                                              She is also a member of the Center for
                                                                                                                              Nanoscience and Nanotechnology at BU.
                                                                              Michelle Khine is an Assistant Professor        Before coming to Boston, Dr Klapperich
                                                                              of Biomedical Engineering at UC Irvine          was a Visiting Postdoctoral Fellow at
                                                                              and scientific founder of Shrink Nano-           Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory in the lab
                                                                              technologies (Nasdaq:INKN). She was             of Dr Carolyn Bertozzi, and was a Senior
                                                                              an Assistant & Founding Professor at UC         Research Scientist at Aclara Biosciences            J. Christopher Love is an assistant
                                                                              Merced. Michelle received her PhD under         in Mountain View, CA. She earned her                professor in chemical engineering at MIT,
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                                                                              Luke Lee in Bioengineering (‘05) from           Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering in 2000             an associate member at the Eli and
                                                                              UC Berkeley and UCSF. She co-founded            from the University of California, Ber-             Edythe L. Broad Institute, an associate
                                                                              Fluxion Biosciences in graduate school.         keley; her M.S. in Engineering Sciences             faculty member at the Ragon Institute of
                                                                              Michelle was the recipient of the TR35          from Harvard University and her B.S. in             MGH, MIT, and Harvard, and a member
                                                                              Award in 2009.                                  Materials Science and Engineering at                of the Koch Institute for Integrative
                                                                                 (1) This technology enables the proto-       Northwestern.                                       Cancer Research. Dr Love received his
                                                                              typing of custom and complete microfluidic          (1) I believe that the ‘‘killer app’’ in next    Ph.D. in 2004 in physical chemistry at
                                                                              devices in minutes. This would allow            generation microfluidics will be in the area         Harvard University. He extended his
                                                                              researchers to design on the fly with            of systems biology both as discovery tools          research into immunology at Harvard
                                                                              minimal costs and no infrastructure.            and in patient care. The ability to look at         Medical School from 2004–2005, and at
                                                                              Because we can also robustly integrate          large ensembles of single cells that are not        the Immune Disease Institute from 2005–
                                                                              metallic nanostructures directly in the mi-     synchronized will enable previously                 2007. His research uses microsystems to
                                                                              crofluidic channels for enhanced signal to       unimaginable discoveries in biology. As             characterize heterogeneity among single
                                                                              noise ratio, this technology is particularly    these technologies mature and new                   cells. Dr Love was named a Dana Scholar
                                                                              applicable for the development of low cost      biomarkers for disease are validated,               for Human Immunology and a Keck
                                                                              point of care diagnostics.                      running large numbers of tests on a single          Distinguished Young Scholar in Medical
                                                                                 (2) I think whenever you try to do some-     patient will become feasible. In the best           Research in 2009.
                                                                              thing radically different it is first met with   case scenario, faster and more precise                 (1) Lab-on-a-chip technologies are
                                                                              skepticism. So the main challenge has been      diagnoses and treatments will lower the             beginning to mature commercially for
                                                                              to prove how effective this technology is.      cost of care.                                       miniaturized bioanalytical assays that
                                                                                 (3) Hopefully adoption by many labs! I          (2) Currently our major challenges lie in        replicate large-scale systems and for
                                                                              sincerely believe that if we make it easier     the areas of raw materials and standardi-           microscale synthetic chemistry. Validation
                                                                              and faster to prototype innovative micro-       zation. It is very difficult to source quality       of these classes of technologies will result
                                                                              fluidic designs, we will help catalyze the       controlled materials for small scale devices        from the deliberate demonstration of their
                                                                              translation from research to real-world         in which one is performing surface sensitive        usefulness in generating new fundamental
                                                                              solutions for point of care diagnostics.        reactions. Standardization of device design         discoveries in biology or chemistry that
                                                                                                                              (inlets, outlets, materials, etc.) is critical to   could not be made with existing tools.
                                                                                                                              the future of microfluidic device design.               (2) One difficulty is recruiting personnel
                                                                              Catherine Klapperich
                                                                                                                                 (3) I think there is a lot of critical           with sufficient interdisciplinary training to
                                                                                                                              rethinking of lab on a chip technologies            work fluidly at the boundaries of chemistry,
                                                                              Catherine Klapperich joined the faculty         going on around the world right now in              materials science, engineering, and
                                                                              of the Boston University College of             both industry and academia. People are              biomedical research. New educational
                                                                              Engineering in 2003. She was promoted to        really thinking about what is necessary to          mechanisms that increase knowledge and
                                                                              Associate Professor in 2010. She is the         scale up these technologies to production           practical awareness at these interfaces are
                                                                              director of the Biomedical Microdevices         levels. I’ve also had a significant increase         essential for this developing area of
                                                                              Laboratory in the Departments of                in my interactions with non-engineers               research.

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                                                                                 (3) There are many opportunities for lab-    separations, as well as many different           Shashi Murthy
                                                                              on-a-chip technologies, particularly those      device platforms such as silicon, thermo-
                                                                              for single-cell analysis, in the fields of       polymer laminates, multilayer PDMS,
                                                                              clinical immunology, disease pathogenesis,      and hybrid material devices. The views
                                                                              and vaccinology. New tools to characterize      expressed here are his own, and do not
                                                                              phenotypic and functional attributes of         reflect the views or policies of NIST or the
                                                                              heterogeneous sets of primary human cells       US government.
                                                                              with correlated, dynamic measures are              (1) As a scientist, I am interested in
                                                                              critical for those areas of biomedical          any technology or application that can be
                                                                              research, especially when the volumes of        employed to enable the measurements
                                                                              samples of interest are very limited–for        necessary to test a hypothesis under
                                                                              example, tissue biopsies. For lab-on-a-chip     investigation. As a developer of tech-
                                                                              solutions to best facilitate the study of       nology, however, the best technologies are
Published on 18 August 2010 on http://pubs.rsc.org | doi:10.1039/C0LC90044C




                                                                              clinical samples, there is a need to develop    the ones that can be used in the investi-
                                                                              and practice methods that conserve the          gation of many different hypotheses. I
                                                                              samples available for analysis and collect      believe that technology development in the
                                                                              multiple classes of data from the same cells.   non-commercial setting should lie at the
                                                                              Shifting from unidimensional to integrated,     intersection of these philosophies. As
                                                                              multidimensional analytical processes is        such, the killer application in this envi-       Shashi Murthy is an Assistant Professor
                                                                              one of the current challenges facing the        ronment varies between hypotheses and is         in the Department of Chemical Engi-
                                                                              field of single-cell analysis.                   the tool that most clearly addresses the         neering at Northeastern University in
                                                                                                                              measurement needs at hand. I have found          Boston, USA. Prof. Murthy established
                                                                                                                              that microfluidics in general offers an           his laboratory at Northeastern in 2005
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                                                                              Matthew Munson                                  ideal platform for the development of            following postdoctoral work at the Har-
                                                                                                                              these applications because of the scal-          vard Medical School and Massachusetts
                                                                                                                              ability, the deterministic nature of the         General Hospital under Prof. Mehmet
                                                                                                                              underlying physics, and the potential for        Toner where he designed microfluidic
                                                                                                                              automation.                                      devices to isolate lymphocyte subpopula-
                                                                                                                                 (2) The primary challenge I have faced in     tions from blood. The major thrust areas
                                                                                                                              this area has been the selection of appro-       in his laboratory currently include mi-
                                                                                                                              priate problems. The microfluidics                crofluidic isolation of stem/progenitor
                                                                                                                              community has a great depth of knowledge         cells for regenerative medicine, ocular
                                                                                                                              and understanding of physical phenomena          diagnostics, new materials for adhesion-
                                                                                                                              at the microscale. As such, once relevant        based cell capture, and understanding
                                                                                                                              problems are identified, we have an exten-        cell-level phenomena in the context of
                                                                                                                              sive toolkit that can be applied to their        microfluidic flow. Prof. Murthy is the
                                                                                                                              solution. The great opportunity of this          recipient of U.S. National Science Foun-
                                                                                                                              challenge is to make connections with            dation’s CAREER Award (2008), the
                                                                                                                              scientists in other disciplines who have well    agency’s most prestigious award for
                                                                              Matthew Munson received his PhD in              defined measurement needs that cannot be          junior faculty members, and the Søren
                                                                              bioengineering from the University of           addressed by other means. When these             Buus Award for Outstanding Research in
                                                                              Washington in 2004, and completed one           connections are made, great science              Engineering at Northeastern University
                                                                              post-doctoral year at University of             emerges that furthers both the technology        (2009). He has authored over 30 publica-
                                                                              Chicago prior to being awarded                  developer and basic scientist.                   tions in the areas of microfluidic cell
                                                                              a National Research Council post-                  (3) I think the future will be dedicated to   separation and biomaterials. He earned
                                                                              doctoral fellowship at the National Insti-      thoughtful application of the technologies       his Ph.D. in Materials Science & Engi-
                                                                              tute of Standards and Technology, where         developed within this field to the solution of    neering at MIT in 2003 and his B.S. in
                                                                              he now holds the position of Research           real research and commercial problems. As        Chemical Engineering at Johns Hopkins
                                                                              Bioengineer. His research has focused on        we begin to embrace the entirety of the          University in 1999.
                                                                              exploiting the fundamental physical             microfluidic toolkit, and abandon the                (1) I don’t think that there will be
                                                                              properties at the microscale to enable          narrow focus that comes with specializa-         a distinct ‘‘killer application.’’ Rather, I
                                                                              development and optimization of analyt-         tion we will be able to solve increasingly       think that the potential is significant for
                                                                              ical tools for the quantification of             complex and increasingly interesting             a single product and/or brand based on
                                                                              proteins and the controlled perturbation        scientific problems. In turn, the application     microfluidic technology to stand out among
                                                                              of protein reaction networks, in both           of all available tools to interesting prob-      similar products that may or may not use
                                                                              research and clinical applications. This        lems will highlight areas where the current      microfluidic technology. The best analogy
                                                                              work has spanned several distinct sub-          toolkit is lacking and will inspire develop-     that I can think of is the iPod, which
                                                                              disciplines such as continuous laminar          ment of new tools that are complementary         already stood out when it was first released
                                                                              flow, multiphase flow, and electrokinetic         to the existing ones.                            many years ago and continues to do so,

                                                                              This journal is ª The Royal Society of Chemistry 2010                                                                               Lab Chip
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                                                                              despite the existence of numerous other                                                             this regard we will see new telemedicine
                                                                              products with similar capabilities.                                                                 based technologies that aim to make the
                                                                                 (2) The two main challenges that I face                                                          most out of this digital platform. Hope-
                                                                              working in this area are skepticism (‘‘why                                                          fully, the end result will make life simpler
                                                                              do you need a microfluidic device to do                                                              for everyone, helping to close the gaps
                                                                              this?’’) and high expectations (‘‘when will                                                         between the developed and the developing
                                                                              this device be available in clinics world-                                                          nations.
                                                                              wide?’’). These challenges may seem
                                                                              contradictory but they can be better
                                                                              understood considering that the former                                                              Adrian Ozinsky
                                                                              challenge mainly comes from fellow
                                                                              researchers and funding agencies whereas
                                                                              the latter comes from the general public
Published on 18 August 2010 on http://pubs.rsc.org | doi:10.1039/C0LC90044C




                                                                              and the media. The first challenge is an
                                                                              extremely important element in our work in         articles in major scientific journals and
                                                                              this field; simply put, if miniaturization has      conferences. Dr Ozcan received several
                                                                              no clear advantages over conventional              awards including NSF CAREER Award,
                                                                              approaches, it is simply not worth the effort      NIH Director’s New Innovator Award,
                                                                              from an applications perspective. Dealing          ONR Young Investigator Award, IEEE
                                                                              with high expectations however, particu-           Photonics Society Young Investigator
                                                                              larly in medical applications, is not quite as     Award and MIT’s TR35 Award for his
                                                                              clear-cut. It is important for us as members       seminal contributions to near-field & on-
                                                                              of this research community to sustain              chip imaging, and telemedicine based
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                                                                              excitement in the minds of the general             diagnostics. Dr Ozcan is also the recipient
                                                                              public for the potential of this field but at       of the National Geographic Emerging
                                                                              the same time, expectations need to be             Explorer Award, Gates Foundation
                                                                              balanced with the realization that micro-          Grand Challenges Award, Netexplor-               Adrian Ozinsky is a medical doctor who
                                                                              fluidics is not all that different from other       ateur Award, the Wireless Innovation             received a Ph.D. in biochemistry from
                                                                              areas in terms of the lag time between             Award given by the Vodafone Americas             the University of Cape Town in 1996.
                                                                              discovery and market availability.                 Foundation, as well as the Okawa Foun-           After a postdoc in immunology at the
                                                                                 (3) I think that this is a very exciting time   dation Award.                                    University of Washington, he joined the
                                                                              to be a researcher in this field. The potential        (1) One of the most important signs of        Institute for Systems Biology in 2000,
                                                                              for microtechnologies in a wide range of           a killer application is that you should be       where he became a Faculty member in
                                                                              areas has been proven, key scientific and           able to explain it to your grandparents in an    2005. His current research focuses on
                                                                              engineering principles have been recog-            elevator within less than a minute, and still    developing tools that can isolate selected
                                                                              nized and formalized, and a healthy level of       deeply excite them with the prospects of         cells from patients, and can resolve the
                                                                              skepticism exists in evaluating research           your work. If this combines with solid           behavior of relevant cells from the
                                                                              findings and commercial prospects. All of           research and development validating those        complex population typically present
                                                                              these factors will contribute to a bright and      prospects, this would indeed be a successful     within each sample. The need to discern
                                                                              exciting future for the field. Based on my          killer application of an idea.                   responses at the level of individual cells
                                                                              own expertise, I envision major contribu-             (2) Addressing global health challenges,      underlies many key challenges in shaping
                                                                              tions to the fields of clinical medicine,           especially in third-world settings, requires     immunity against infections and devel-
                                                                              biology (cell and molecular), and chemistry        a different mindset. You cannot readily          oping effective vaccine responses, and in
                                                                              (synthetic and analytical).                        assume that most of the well established         probing the steps underlying cancer
                                                                                                                                 technologies that shaped our thinking for        metastasis. The ISB provides a unique
                                                                                                                                 decades would be available or would even be      collaborative and interdisciplinary envi-
                                                                              Aydogan Ozcan                                                                                       ronment to develop new tools, to use the
                                                                                                                                 functioning in such resource poor settings.
                                                                                                                                 As a result, we need to detach ourselves from    technology to probe immunity and cancer
                                                                              Dr Aydogan Ozcan received his Ph.D.                conventional designs, and rethink the solu-      biology, and to collaborate with superb
                                                                              degree at Stanford University Electrical           tion for these challenges. This often requires   groups at other institutions.
                                                                              Engineering Department. He is currently            an interdisciplinary effort, which needs both       (1) One view is that success should be
                                                                              an Assistant Professor at UCLA, leading            depth and breadth in various fields to            claimed when microfluidic devices are the
                                                                              the Bio- and Nano-Photonics Laboratory             provide a well engineered solution.              default tool that are used on a daily basis,
                                                                              (http://innovate.ee.ucla.edu/) at the Elec-           (3) One of the most impactful things that     such as how mRNA quality now routinely
                                                                              trical Engineering Department. Dr Ozcan            the consumer electronics market brought to       is assessed with the Agilent bioanalyzer.
                                                                              holds 17 issued patents and another 8              our lives is the cellphone. Benefiting from       The vision that inspires me is to aim for
                                                                              pending patent applications; and is the            this revolutionary platform, telemedicine        a landmark accomplishment, such as
                                                                              author of one book and the co-author of            will surely help us to address several global    a medically-relevant discovery that could
                                                                              more than 110 peer-reviewed research               health challenges that we face today; and in     not easily have been achieved by other

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                                                                              means. This type of application likely         doing, and towards single cell data that       comparisons of cellular processes between
                                                                              would exploit several of the key advantages    provides insight into what cells actually      individual cells, and could reveal correla-
                                                                              of the microfluidics approach, and should       are doing.                                     tions in behavior that shed new insight into
                                                                              combine elements of miniaturization, inte-                                                    biological function and responsiveness –
                                                                              gration, scaling/parallelization, and auto-                                                   information that is inaccessible using
                                                                              mation. We are trying to bring these           James M. Spotts                                standard population-based measurements
                                                                              themes together with a device that is able                                                    of cells. A higher order and more distant
                                                                              to measure multiple proteins from each cell                                                   ‘‘killer application’’ would combine two or
                                                                              of a population of mammalian cells. We                                                        more of these single cell measurement
                                                                              anticipate that great insight will follow                                                     capabilities within a single experimental
                                                                              from measurements that reveal the manner                                                      measurement platform. By defining the
                                                                              in which individual cells are regulated, and                                                  state of a cell along two or more dimen-
                                                                              bypass the roadblocks to interpretation                                                       sions, unprecedented detail would be
Published on 18 August 2010 on http://pubs.rsc.org | doi:10.1039/C0LC90044C




                                                                              imposed by averaged data.                                                                     gained about how molecular information is
                                                                                 (2) A personal difficulty has been                                                          processed and integrated by different
                                                                              undertaking device development research                                                       molecular agents working in concert
                                                                              in a laboratory that previously was                                                           within an isolated cellular network.
                                                                              focused on biology, and did not have                                                             (2) There are two key challenges that we
                                                                              researchers with physical science/engi-                                                       continuously confront as device developers
                                                                              neering training. I was surprised by the                                                      on one hand, and as research biologists who
                                                                              relative lack of support by biologist                                                         want to perform routine measurements
                                                                              colleagues who preferred to leave device                                                      using these devices on the other. The first
                                                                              development to others, and advanced their      James M. Spotts began his career as            challenge is how to bridge the gulf between
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                                                                              careers by focusing on applying the            a chemist, first at Dartmouth College and       the often limited functionality of a proof-
                                                                              current generation of available analytical     then at the California Institute of Tech-      of-concept device to a scale and format
                                                                              tools rather than developing next-genera-      nology where earned a doctorate in             compatible with the routine workflow of the
                                                                              tion tools. I believe that at each moment,     chemistry in 1998 for laser spectroscopic      average bench biologist. Merging devices
                                                                              science faces critical challenges, and one     studies of gas phase metal solvent clusters.   to a standard 96- or 384-well assay format
                                                                              current challenge lies with purifying rele-    He then shifted his research focus to          remains inaccessible given the resources of
                                                                              vant cells for analysis and analyzing them     biology, pursuing postdoctoral research        an average academic laboratory, although
                                                                              directly, while rigorously excluding irrel-    in molecular and cellular neuroscience at      commercial entities such as Fluidigm have
                                                                              evant cells. Another challenge within the      Children’s Hospital Boston and Harvard         achieved elegant solutions to his challenge.
                                                                              academic setting is to go beyond the           Medical School. In 2005, he joined to the      The commercial availability of a standard-
                                                                              development of a proof-of-concept device,      Institute for Systems Biology as a Senior      ized assay plate with flexible, defined
                                                                              and to be able to develop a device to the      Research Scientist, where he has focused       format onto which custom microfluidic
                                                                              point that it readily can be applied by        his efforts on developing microfluidic          devices could be adapted would be invalu-
                                                                              a biologist. Furthermore, academic biolo-      platforms to perform quantitative              able. The second challenge that we
                                                                              gists seem reluctant to credit the incre-      measurements from single mammalian             encounter is how to best merge different
                                                                              mental successes along the path of             cells. Current research projects include       measurement applications that are often
                                                                              development, and express interest only         the development of devices to perform          best suited to different materials and
                                                                              when the final device is fully-operational      highly multiplexed protein expression          formats. The available choices can impose
                                                                              and has been validated.                        measurements from single cells, to             compromises in order to achieve some level
                                                                                 (3) While the reality is that few biolo-    capture and culture single mammalian           of functionality at the expense of perfor-
                                                                              gists currently utilize microfluidics           cells within isolated assay chambers, and      mance, or require the adoption of more
                                                                              devices, I think one should be inspired and    to measure single cell transcriptomic          complicated fabrication procedures and
                                                                              motivated to develop solutions to critical     profiles.                                       designs that, in turn, impose greater
                                                                              biological challenges that face researchers       (1) Biological and biomedical research      demands on the end user to operate the
                                                                              and that are not solved with current-          is entering a phase where a detailed           device.
                                                                              generation tools. With the clear recogni-      understanding of cellular processes at the        (3) There is little value to this ongoing
                                                                              tion of the central role that the cell plays   single cell level is paramount. A first order   background debate whether microfluidic
                                                                              in our conception and understanding of         ‘‘killer application’’ would directly          technologies have or have not had a signifi-
                                                                              biology, it is not outrageous to anticipate    perform quantitative, highly multiplexed       cant impact to date. The bottom line is that
                                                                              the extraordinary benefits that will result     measurements of one cellular variable,         the scale, sensitivity, sample numbers, and
                                                                              from the widespread application of             either mRNA or microRNA expression,            degree of measurement multiplexing
                                                                              analytical tools that will provide             protein expression, or protein post-trans-     necessary for biomedical researchers to
                                                                              measurements with single-cell resolution.      lational modifications, from each of            explore new frontiers of biological and
                                                                              It is not hard to envision the benefits of      hundreds to thousands of isolated single       biomedical inquiry will require micro/
                                                                              moving beyond a dependence on averaged         cells. Molecular-level snapshots such as       nanofluidic technologies. As agents who
                                                                              data that suggests what cells might be         these would enable the first direct             can guide this transition, we need to

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                                                                              maintain focus not only on developing              The clean room can serve as an exquisite        probe key questions in a way unthinkable
                                                                              devices that directly address the key road-        ‘‘machine shop’’ to construct experimental      decades ago. More broadly, I’ve been
                                                                              blocks to these groundbreaking applica-            laboratories that can probe fundamental         fascinated by the growing level of sophis-
                                                                              tions, but also on how to best translate           scientific questions in a way that would be      tication the community has shown in
                                                                              these proof-of-principle technologies into         otherwise impossible. More broadly, I feel      manipulating ion transport – whether for
                                                                              commercial products that will encourage            there are many ‘‘killer apps’’ for micro-       ICEK, concentration polarization and pre-
                                                                              broad adoption by the biomedical commu-            fluidics, ranging from cheap, fast, dispos-      concentration, water desalination, directed
                                                                              nity. Achieving this, impact will invariably       able medical diagnostic chips (enabled by       self-assembly of colloids and nano-
                                                                              follow.                                            the small sample volumes and favorable          particles, and electric double-layer capac-
                                                                                                                                 physics/chemistry) to micro-reactor/fabri-      itors (‘super-capacitors’) for energy
                                                                                                                                 cation chips for the synthesis of designer      storage. It seems that interesting, funda-
                                                                                                                                 materials. Our lab has been investigating       mental scientific questions as well as
                                                                              Todd Squires                                       electrokinetic effects, largely to develop      compelling applications, will persist for
Published on 18 August 2010 on http://pubs.rsc.org | doi:10.1039/C0LC90044C




                                                                                                                                 intuitively clear (but quantitatively accu-     the near future.
                                                                                                                                 rate) pictures to understand the core phys-
                                                                                                                                 ico-chemical effects that arise in these        Shoji Takeuchi
                                                                                                                                 systems. At the same time, however, we are
                                                                                                                                 pursuing strategies that would employ
                                                                                                                                 induced-charge electrokinetic effects to
                                                                                                                                 establish high fluid pressures with low, AC
                                                                                                                                 voltages – with the ultimate goal of
                                                                                                                                 enabling small electrokinetic pumps that
                                                                                                                                 could drive fluids in arbitrarily complex
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                                                                                                                                 chips in a way that would be portable or
                                                                                                                                 even implantable.
                                                                                                                                    (2) The difficulties we face are many –
                                                                                                                                 electrokinetic effects are, at their core,
                                                                                                                                 interfacial effects. As such, they depend
                                                                              Todd Squires earned a B.S. in Physics and          sensitively on the chemical equilibria es-
                                                                              B.A. in Russian literature at UCLA, then           tablished between the surface and the
                                                                              spent a year as a Churchill Scholar at             electrolyte. One’s ignorance of the precise
                                                                              Cambridge University. He earned his                state of the surface can limit one’s ability
                                                                              Ph.D. in physics at Harvard University,            to predict – and thus rationally design –       Shoji Takeuchi received the B.E, M.E.,
                                                                              focusing on problems in colloidal hydro-           electrokinetic devices. The work described      and Dr Eng. degrees in mechanical engi-
                                                                              dynamics and electrokinetics. He then              here makes quantitative predictions for         neering from the University of Tokyo,
                                                                              spent three years as a Lee A. Dubridge             the induced-charge electrokinetic flows         Tokyo, Japan, in 1995, 1997, and 2000,
                                                                              Prize Postdoctoral Fellow and National             over a precisely-defined surface, and finds     respectively. He is currently an Associate
                                                                              Science     Foundation          Mathematical       quantitative agreement with experiments.        Professor in the Center for International
                                                                              Sciences Postdoctoral Fellow at the Cal-           Using      ‘‘controllably   contaminated’’      Research on Micronano Mechatronics
                                                                              ifornia Institute of Technology, where he          surfaces, however, gives flows that are 10–     (CIRMM), Institute of Industrial Science
                                                                              continued theoretical work in electroki-           100 times slower than one would expect          (IIS), University of Tokyo. His current
                                                                              netics and microfluidics, and initiated new         over ‘‘clean’’ metal surfaces. Under-           interests include membrane protein chips,
                                                                              studies of nonlinear microrheology.                standing why these flows are slow does not      bottom-up tissue engineering and bio-
                                                                              Squires has been on the chemical engi-             change the fact that they are. With what        hybrid MEMS. He received several
                                                                              neering faculty at the University of Cal-          we’ve learned here, we’re now working           awards including the award for Advanced
                                                                              ifornia Santa Barbara since 2005. He               to explore and design material systems          Research from the Japan Society of
                                                                              continues to investigate a range of topics in      that will maximize ICEK flows, with the         Medical Electronics and Biological Engi-
                                                                              micro-scale fluid mechanics and transport,          hope of developing surfaces that will           neering in 2001, Young Scientists’ Prize,
                                                                              both experimentally and theoretically.             give robust, strong flows in a range of         the Commendation for Science and
                                                                              Honors include the NSF CAREER                      conditions.                                     Technology by the Minister of Education,
                                                                              Award, the Beckman Young Investigator,                (3) As for the future, several               Culture, Sports, Science and Technology
                                                                              the Camille and Henry Dreyfus Teacher-             outstanding questions remain concerning         in 2008, and the JSPS prize from the
                                                                              Scholar award, the 2009 Francois Frenkiel          electrokinetics, where existing theories        Japan Society for the Promotion of
                                                                              Award, the 2010 Allan P. Colburn                   make predictions that are wrong on even         Science in 2010.
                                                                              Memorial Lecturer, and the 2010 Pierre-            a qualitative level. Such discrepancies            (1) Our group has proposed a meander-
                                                                              Gilles de Gennes Prize.                            reflect gaps in our core understanding,          shaped dynamic microarray that can
                                                                                 (1) For me as a scientist, the ‘‘killer         which I suspect will be resolved within the     transport, immobilize and make an array of
                                                                              application’’ is truly the lab on a chip itself.   next decade. Again, microfabrication            samples efficiently with a small amount of
                                                                                                                                 allows one to precisely define systems to        sample volume since all of the introduced

                                                                              Lab Chip                                                                                 This journal is ª The Royal Society of Chemistry 2010
                                                                                                                                                                                                                     View Online




                                                                              beads can be trapped at each site sequen-        University. Dr Wei Wang’s research
                                                                              tially. We believe our device presented here     interests include polymer micro/nano-
                                                                              as paired sample array can be applied to         fabrication and micro/nanofluidics. So
                                                                              observe molecular diffusion and analyze          far, Dr Wei Wang has published more
                                                                              cell–cell interactions between the two           than 20 peer-reviewed journal articles on
                                                                              samples; these analyses are very important       related topics.
                                                                              in the pharmacokinetics studies and tissue          (1) For me, it’s hard to say there are any
                                                                              engineering and so on.                           killer apps in micro/nanofluidics, as we are
                                                                                 (2) We had some trouble trapping small        still on the way to succeed in real commer-
                                                                              samples (smaller than 2 mm), and elastic         cial applications. But, I would love to take
                                                                              samples such as single cells, liposomes or       what Prof. G. Whitesides did on the PDMS
                                                                              micro droplets; they tend to pass through        based soft-lithography and what Prof. A.
                                                                              the narrow channels after trapping. I think      Manz did on the continuously-flow (bio)
Published on 18 August 2010 on http://pubs.rsc.org | doi:10.1039/C0LC90044C




                                                                              that, as the next challenge, we need to add      reactor as killer applications in the micro/
                                                                              some mechanisms in the fluidic channels to        nanofluidics society, as they really changed        Wisconsin and in Neuroengineering at the
                                                                              overcome the above problems such as micro        our minds on how to do micro/nanofluidics           University of Michigan. He joined the
                                                                              pillars, valves and electrodes and so on.        and what micro/nanofluidics can do.                 faculty at the University of Wisconsin in
                                                                                 (3) In the near future, we will try to           (2) As a researcher with a fluid                 2003 as an Assistant Professor. His
                                                                              improve the dynamic microarray by adding         mechanics and microelectromechanical               research program is centered around the
                                                                              new functions such as: (i) to make an            system (MEMS) background, I’m facing               development of implantable micro-
                                                                              ordered array of heterogeneous samples,          difficulties in communication with                  technology for treating neurological
                                                                              (ii) to release all samples at once for reuse,   researchers in the fields of biology or             disease and microfluidic platforms for
                                                                              (iii) to increase the density of sample array    medicine, not the problem of personal              studying basic neurobiology.
           Downloaded on 19 August 2010




                                                                              by modifying the design of the channels,         communication ability, but the difficulties            (1) I think an area where LOC applica-
                                                                              and (iv) to trap a variety of samples such as    in establishing ‘bridges’, rethinking disci-       tions are poised to make significant prog-
                                                                              single cells, protein-coated microbeads,         plinary borders, and discovering modes of          ress is in the field of basic biology. An
                                                                              liposomes and spheroids.                         collaboration among people whose ‘mean-            application that could simultaneously
                                                                                                                               ings’ and ‘processes’ are very different, as       explore a myriad of factors, and their
                                                                              Wei Wang                                         said by Ronald Schleifer in Stanford               interactions, that influence a cell’s micro-
                                                                                                                               Humanities Review, 1995, 4(1).                     environment, growth and development
                                                                                                                                  (3) No doubt, micro/nanofluidics holds           would be especially powerful to the bio-
                                                                                                                               a bright future, especially when people pay        logical community. Ideally, this technology
                                                                                                                               more and more attention to their health, and       would also be robust, scalable and
                                                                                                                               the micro/nanofluidics technologies have been       amenable to automation, which are some of
                                                                                                                               widely acknowledged as worthy potential            the reasons why it remains an illusive
                                                                                                                               solutions for points of care, local health         challenge to the LOC community.
                                                                                                                               monitoring, disease diagnosis, or even clinical       (2) One of the difficulties we face is in
                                                                                                                               treatments. In my opinion, the main issue          trying to get researchers in other fields to
                                                                                                                               which may affect the future of micro/nano-         adopt new technologies. There are
                                                                                                                               fluidics in the above fields is the price/           a number of issues we face in this regard,
                                                                                                                               performance ratio of the product. We do need       but in particular, validation of new micro-
                                                                                                                               to find out a way to make micro/nanofluidics         technologies against existing more stan-
                                                                                                                               devices with a reasonable price/performance        dardized techniques can be challenging. For
                                                                                                                               ratio. To achieve this target, I really think we   example, there are many different reasons
                                                                                                                               should learn more from the existing success-       why cells may grow differently in micro-
                                                                              Wei Wang received his Ph.D. degree at            ful technologies, such as integrated circuit       fluidic environments; some are insightful,
                                                                              the Aerospace School, Tsinghua Univer-           (IC), and some microelectromechanical              others may just be artifacts. It can often be
                                                                              sity, China, majoring in Thermal Engi-           systems (MEMS) applications.                       difficult to tease out these differences, and
                                                                              neering, in 2005. After that, he joined the                                                         can be a particular stumbling block for new
                                                                              MEMS research center in Peking                                                                      investigators in this field.
                                                                              University (China) as a postdoctoral
                                                                                                                               Justin Williams
                                                                                                                                                                                     (3) The field continues to expand at
                                                                              researcher. From 2007, Dr Wei Wang                                                                  a rate that can make it difficult to keep up
                                                                              started his research group on micro/             Justin Williams is an Associate Professor          with at times. As fast as it is expanding
                                                                              nanofluidics in Peking University (http://        of Biomedical Engineering at the Univer-           though, there is clearly still room for
                                                                              ime.pku.edu.cn/microfluidics/). Pres-            sity of Wisconsin-Madison. He obtained             continued growth. In the future I hope that
                                                                              ently, Dr Wei Wang is an associate               his Masters and PhD in Bioengineering              microtechnology is going to become ubiq-
                                                                              professor in Institute of Microelectronics,      from Arizona State University in 2001. He          uitous in many current fields and will start
                                                                              Peking University and the vice director of       followed with postdoctoral fellowships             to emerge into areas that haven’t even been
                                                                              MEMS research center in Peking                   in Neurosurgery at the University of               considered yet.

                                                                              This journal is ª The Royal Society of Chemistry 2010                                                                                   Lab Chip

								
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