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SELECTBIO Conferences Innovations in Microfluidics 2020

Innovations in Microfluidics 2020 Agenda

Co-Located Conference Agendas

3D-Printing and Biofabrication 2020 | Innovations in Microfluidics 2020 | 

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Monday, 17 August 2020


Conference Registration, Materials Pick-Up, Morning Coffee and Pastries

Session Title: Conference Plenary Session -- Innovations in Microfluidics, 3D-Bioprinting and BioFab 2020


Leanna LevineConference Chair

Welcome and Introduction to the Conference by Conference Chairperson
Leanna Levine, President & CEO, ALine, Inc., United States of America


Amy  ShenKeynote Presentation

Nanoplasmonic Platforms For Biosensing Applications
Amy Shen, Professor, Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology, Japan

Fabricating large-scale bioplasmonic materials at high-throughput is important for the development of bio/chemical sensors and high resolution nanomaterial based bioimaging tools. However, techniques specific to large-scale synthesis of biocompatible nanoplasmonic materials have found limited acceptance in industry due to their time-consuming and complex fabrication procedures. Here, by exploiting properties of reactive ions in a SF6 plasma environment, we assemble nanoplasmonic substrates containing mushroom-like structures with SiO2 (insulator) stems and metal caps of gold (45-60 nm in total height, ~20 nm in width), evenly distributed with ~10 nm spacing on a glass substrate. We demonstrate that our developed gold nanomushroom (Au NM) substrate is biocompatible and sensitive for localized surface plasmon resonance (LSPR) based biosensing applications. This nanoplasmonic platform (coupled with microfluidics) is used for monitoring mitosis of fibroblasts for 7 days, E. coli biofilm formation, protein/DNA based immunoassays , and DNA polymerase activity in real-time.


David WeitzKeynote Presentation

Drop-based Microfluidics For Single-Cell Analysis
David Weitz, Professor, Harvard University, United States of America

This talk will describe the use of microfluidic technology to control and manipulate drops whose volume is about one picoliter.  These can serve as reaction vessels for biological assays.  These drops can be manipulated with very high precision using an inert carrier oil to control the fluidics, ensuring the samples never contact the walls of the fluidic channels.  Small quantities of other reagents can be injected with a high degree of control.  The drops can also encapsulate cells, enabling cell-based assays to be carried out.  The use of these devices for cell analysis will be described.


Roger KammKeynote Presentation

Emergent Engineering of Human Neurological Disease Models
Roger Kamm, Cecil and Ida Green Distinguished Professor of Biological and Mechanical Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), United States of America

Microphysiological models have now been developed for a variety of single organs, as well as multi-organ systems.  These models are also beginning to find useful applications in the pharmaceutical and biotech industry as disease models and for intermediate throughput drug screening.  The current models range from those that are generated by precisely seeding in a device populations of fully differentiated or primary cells that then assemble into functional monolayers or simple 3D structures on one extreme, to ones that are fully emergent, forming by self-assembly often within a single cluster of pluripotent cells on the other.  We refer to these two approaches as ‘top-down engineering’ and ‘emergent engineering’.  In this presentation, the full range of techniques will be discussed, with examples derived from applications in the context of neurological function and disease.


Morning Coffee Break and Networking in the Exhibit Hall


Gabor ForgacsKeynote Presentation

Tissue Engineering Beyond Regenerative Medicine: Biofabricating Leather
Gabor Forgacs, Professor, University of Missouri-Columbia; Scientific Founder, Organovo; CSO, Modern Meadow, United States of America

Most tissue engineering efforts are focused on applications in regenerative medicine to improve the quality of life of patients. Despite spectacular progress in the last 20 years the expected breakthrough to replace dysfunctional tissues in the organism or mitigate the chronic shortage of donor organs has not yet been achieved. This is not surprising given the enormous challenge facing the biofabrication of complex living structures in vitro and the associated astronomical expenditures. Here we propose a more modest, but more realistic utilization of the knowledge accumulated in tissue engineering and associated biofabrication technologies over the years. As an example we detail specific efforts to engineer a particular compartment of a complex tissue, the skin that gives rise to a commercially useful leather-like material. We compare our process with that followed by the leather industry to point out the advantages and disadvantages of both. We conclude by speculating more broadly on the significant potential social benefits of our approach.


Shulamit LevenbergKeynote Presentation

Engineering Printable 3D Vascularized Tissue Constructs
Shulamit Levenberg, Professor and Dean, Faculty of Biomedical Engineering, Technion Israel Institute of Technology, Israel

Living tissues require a vascular network to supply nutrients and gases and remove cellular waste. Fabricating vascularized constructs represents a key challenge in tissue engineering. Several methods have been proposed to create in vitro pre-vascularized tissues, including co-culturing of endothelial cells, support cells and cells specific to the tissue of interest. This approach supports formation of endothelial vessels and promotes endothelial and tissue-specific cell interactions. In addition, we have shown that in vitro pre-vascularization of engineered tissue can promote its survival and perfusion upon implantation.  Implanted vascular networks, can anastomose with host vasculature and form functional blood vessels in vivo. Sufficient vascularization in engineered tissues can be achieved through coordinated application of improved biomaterial systems with proper cell types. We have shown that vessel network maturity levels and morphology are highly regulated by matrix composition. We also explored the effect of mechanical forces on vessels organization and analyzed the vasculogenic dynamics within the constructs. We demonstrated that morphogenesis of 3D vascular networks is highly regulated by tensile forces.  Creating complex vascular networks with varying vessel sizes is the next challenge in engineering vascularized tissue constructs. 3D bioprinting, the controlled and automatized deposition of biomaterials and cells, represents a very attractive approach to solve this issue. This technique allows for combining different bioinks (biocompatible printable materials) in an organized fashion to attain native-tissue mimicking structures.


Mehmet TonerKeynote Presentation

“More is More”: Precision Microfluidics of Large Volumes
Mehmet Toner, Helen Andrus Benedict Professor of Biomedical Engineering, Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), Harvard Medical School, and Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology, United States of America

Microfluidics gained prominence with the application of microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) to biology in an attempt to benefit from the miniaturization of devices for handling of minute samples of fluids under precisely controlled conditions. Microfluidics exploits the differences between micro- and macro-scale flows, for example, the absence of turbulence, electro-osmotic flow, surface and interfacial effects, capillary forces in order to develop scaled-down biochemical analytical processes. The field also takes advantage of MEMS and silicon micromachining by integrating micro-sensors, micro-valves, and micro-pumps as well as physical, electrical, and optical detection schemes into microfluidics to develop the so-called “micro-total analysis systems (µTAS)” or “lab-on-a-chip” devices. However, the ability to process ‘real world-sized’ volumes efficiently has been a major challenge since the beginning of the field of microfluidics. This begs the question whether it is possible to take advantage of microfluidic precision without the limitation on throughput required for large-volume processing? The challenge is further compounded by the fact that physiological fluids are non-Newtonian, heterogeneous, and contain viscoelastic living cells that continuously responds to the smallest changes in their microenvironment. Our efforts towards moving the field of microfluidics to process large-volumes of fluids was counterintuitive and not anticipated by the conventional wisdom at the inception of the field. We metaphorically called this “hooking garden hose to microfluidic chips.” We are motivated by a broad range of applications enabled by precise manipulation of extremely large-volumes of complex fluids, especially those containing living cells or bioparticles. This presentation will provide a summary of our efforts in bringing microfluidics to large volumes and complex fluids as well as various applications such as the isolation of extremely rare circulating tumor cells from whole blood. The use of high-throughput microfluidics to process large-volumes of complex fluids (e.g., whole blood, bone marrow, bronchoalveolar fluid) has found broad interest in both academia and industry due to its broad range of utility in medical applications.


M. Selim ÜnlüKeynote Presentation

Interferometric Detection: From Multiplexed Label-free Affinity Measurements to Counting Single Biomolecules
M. Selim Ünlü, Distinguished Professor of Engineering, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Boston University, United States of America

Interferometric reflectance imaging sensor (IRIS) technology is based on interference of light from an optically transparent thin film—the same phenomenon that gives rainbow colors to a soap film when illuminated by white light. IRIS has two modalities: (i) low-magnification (ensemble biomolecular mass measurements) allowing for multiplexed affinity measurements and (ii) high-magnification (digital detection of individual nanoparticles) along with their applications, including label-free detection of multiplexed protein chips, measurement of single nucleotide polymorphism, quantification of transcription factor DNA binding, and high sensitivity digital sensing and characterization of nanoparticles and viruses.

In vitro tests are a cornerstone of clinical practice, with the sensitivity of standard immunoassays measuring protein biomarkers at picomolar concentrations. This level of sensitivity is sufficient for the diagnosis of infectious diseases when clear symptoms are present, however it falls short significantly for the detection of molecular biomarkers that are important in cancer, neurological disorders, and the early stages of infection as well as environmental sensing.  Perhaps one of the most exciting recent technological developments in biomarker analysis is single-molecule counting or digital detection, an approach that provides resolution and sensitivity beyond the reach of ensemble measurements. In this presentation, we will cover the technical developments of IRIS platform as well as our efforts in technology commercialization.


Networking Lunch in the Exhibit Hall, Exhibits and Poster Viewing

Session Title: Trends in Microfluidics -- Research and Applications

Session Chair: Albert Folch, University of Washington


Hummingbird Nano, Inc., Professor, University of KentuckyA Novel Microfluidic Mixing Chip
L. Scott Stephens, CEO & Founder, Hummingbird Nano, Inc., Professor, University of Kentucky

The interaction of fluids in microfluidic systems is a challenging yet important application. These interactions can take the form of controlled reactions, distribution of particles (slurries), particle control in emulsions and control of concentration, among others.   In many of these "mixing" applications, the reagents can be very costly, so it is important to have a system that offers low swept volume and zero dead volume.  This presentation will review approaches to the mixing applications and introduce a new chip design low swept volume and zero dead volume.  Sample results for the a simple mixing of concentrated dyes will be presented.


Albert FolchKeynote Presentation

3D-Printed PEG-DA Microfluidics: Channels, Valves & Hydrogels
Albert Folch, Professor of Bioengineering, University of Washington, United States of America

The vast majority of microfluidic devices are presently manufactured using micromolding processes that work very well for a reduced set of biocompatible materials, but the time, cost, and design constraints of micromolding hinder the commercialization of many devices. PDMS, in particular, is extremely popular in academic labs, yet the fabrication procedures are based on cumbersome manual methods and the material itself strongly absorbs lipophilic drugs. As a result, the dissemination of many cell-based microfluidic chips – and their impact on society – is in jeopardy. Digital Manufacturing (DM) is a family of computer-centered processes that integrate digital 3D designs, automated (additive or subtractive) fabrication, and device testing in order to increase fabrication efficiency. Importantly, DM enables the inexpensive realization of 3D designs that are impossible or very difficult to mold. The adoption of DM by microfluidic engineers has been slow, likely due to concerns over the resolution of the printers and the biocompatibility of the resins. We have developed microfluidic devices by SL in PEG-DA-based resins with automation and biocompatibility ratings similar to those made with PDMS. The resins allow for building transparent microchannels, microvalves, and multi-material devices containing hydrogels of larger-MW PEG-DA formulations.


Shannon StottKeynote Presentation

Microfluidics For the Isolation of Circulating Biomarkers From Glioblastoma Patients
Shannon Stott, Assistant Professor, Massachusetts General Hospital & Harvard Medical School, United States of America


Afternoon Coffee and Tea Break and Networking


Leanna LevineKeynote Presentation

Valves in Microfluidics – Past, Present & Future
Leanna Levine, President & CEO, ALine, Inc., United States of America

Managing fluid movement in a controlled way is conveniently done with on-board valves that are actuated externally with the support of an instrument. In this talk, I will review the types of valves available and the pros and cons of different approaches and their consequences for complexity in the supporting instrument.


Richard Chasen SperoKeynote Presentation

Back to the Future: Porting Legacy Assays to Microfluidic Cartridges
Richard Chasen Spero, CEO, Redbud Labs, United States of America

Despite booming investment, the use of microfluidic and sample-to-answer platforms is still dwarfed by traditional molecular tests and immunoassays. Imagine being able to rapidly port this vast back-catalogue of assays to a cartridge-based format. We report on the development of modular microfluidic chips that can readily implement a wide range of legacy assays without degradation in performance, from isothermal amplification to nucleic acid purification.


The Smart Toilet as a Point of Care Platform
Jeff Campbell, Director of Engineering, Electronic and Fluidic Technologies, Medic Life, United States of America

The Smart Toilet has potential to become a versatile and highly available tool for the periodic real-time monitoring of health and wellness biometrics. Modern medicine relies upon occasional visits to healthcare professionals to screen for and anticipate the onset of disease, frequently resulting in missed opportunities for early diagnosis. A smart toilet that routinely measures general and targeted biomarkers offers opportunity for deep health insights while requiring little to no extra effort from users. µTAS devices offer unique potential to deliver efficient, low cost, miniaturized chemical analysis systems. We present a smart toilet that facilitates the commercialization of µTAS designs by providing a microfluidic interface and platform for the collection, preparation, transport, and waste management of urine sample. Instrumentation and apparatus common to many microfluidic systems is provided as core infrastructure, freeing the researcher to concentrate their effort on core technology when developing a point-of-care device. Medic Life has recently demonstrated the feasibility and capability of the smart toilet to be a platform for any analysis of urine the apparatus for which can be miniaturized to fit within the relatively spacious toilet housing. These capabilities throw the door wide open to in situ high throughput testing of urine, with analysis and sample collection for a large number of laboratory tests with applications in medicine, general wellness, clinical compliance, and pharmaceutical R&D.


Networking Reception with Beer and Wine in the Exhibit Hall -- Meet Exhibitors and Network with Colleagues


Close of Day 1 of the Conference

Tuesday, 18 August 2020


Morning Coffee, Tea and Pastries in the Exhibit Hall

Session Title: Applications of Microfluidics in Key Areas


John BrennanKeynote Presentation

Integrating Aptamer Technology with Paper-Based Point-of-Care Devices for Biomedical Monitoring
John Brennan, Professor and Director, Biointerfaces Institute, McMaster University, Canada

DNA aptamers and DNA enzymes (denoted as functional nucleic acids or FNA) are an emerging platform for development of point-of-care (POC) diagnostic devices.  In this presentation, I will first focus on the development of new aptamers and DNA enzymes for a range of key biomarkers and their integration into colorimetric and fluorimetric assays for a variety of targets, mainly in the area of infectious disease.  Methods to couple target-binding to FNAs to the production of a DNA strand as an output will then be described.  The use the output DNA to directly initiate color production or produce isothermal amplification (ITA), will then be outlined.  Finally, the integration of the FNA assays into capillary flow-based paper devices will be described as platform for a range of new POC devices that allow facile detection of clinical analytes.  Examples will be provided outlining paper-based devices for ultra-sensitive detection of E. coli, C. difficile, MRSA and H. pylori.


axiVEND LLCReagent Deposition for Minimally Instrumented Microfluidics Devices
Claude Dufresne, CEO, axiVEND LLC

Microfluidics devices are excellent at carrying out biochemical and chemical reactions at a reduced scale.  They are often the platform of choice for Point-of-Use test kits. There has been a trend towards minimally instrumented microfluidics, reducing external requirements for pumping systems, tube assemblies, etc… These new microfluidics devices can be produced by pre-loading reagents onto the chips.

There are a large number of methods, active and passive, for integrating and releasing dry and liquid reagents onto microfluidics devices.  This presentation will focus on the use of non-contact and contact low volume precision liquid dispensing to deposit a wide variety of reagents onto microfluidics components, during their manufacturing.  Technologies will cover picoliter, nanoliter, as well as pin tools for the transfer of biological molecules, nanoparticles, hydrogels, buffer components, into channels, reaction chambers, or microarray areas.


Daniel IrimiaKeynote Presentation

Microfluidic Devices To Measure NETs In Circulation
Daniel Irimia, Associate Professor, Surgery Department, Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), Shriners Burns Hospital, and Harvard Medical School, United States of America


Microfluidic ChipShopSense and Sensibility: A Tale of Complexity in Commercial Microfluidic Device Production
Holger Becker, Chief Scientific Officer, Microfluidic ChipShop


Morning Coffee Break and Networking in the Exhibit Hall


Peter ErtlKeynote Presentation

Wound Healing-on-a-Chip: The Long and Painful Road From Lab Prototypes to Industrial Manufacturing Applications
Peter Ertl, Professor of Lab-on-a-Chip Systems, Vienna University of Technology, Austria

All wound healing assays are based on the inherent ability of adherent cells to proliferate and move into adjacent cell-free areas, thus providing information on cell viability, cellular mechanisms and multicellular movements. Despite their wide-spread use for toxicological screening, biomedical research and pharmaceutical studies, to date no satisfactory technological solutions are available that allow for the automated, miniaturized and integrated induction of defined wounds.  To bridge this technological gap we have developed (1) a lab-on-a-chip capable of mechanically inducing circular cell-free areas within 2D and 3D cell cultures and (2) a personalized companion diagnostic tool for individualized therapy solutions for chronic wounds. In this presentation both microfluidic systems and their applications for wound healing research as well as device translation and scale up manufacturing issues will be discussed.


Microfluidic ChipShopIt’s the Economy – Industrial Aspects of Organ-on-a-Chip Device Manufacturing
Holger Becker, Chief Scientific Officer, Microfluidic ChipShop

While academic activities in the organ-on-a-chip field have multiplied in recent years, it becomes apparent that translating academic results into commercially viable products can be challenging. This is even more true for such devices which require a generically multidisciplinary approach, combining application know-how with surface chemistry, microfabrication and materials technology. In this presentation, we will give an overview over available solutions for such products and explain classical pitfalls on the way from the academic laboratory bench to an industrial product.


Joint-on-a-Chip as Alternative to Animal Models in Arthritis Research
Mario Rothbauer, Researcher, Vienna University of Technology, Austria

With a prevalence of about 1%, rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is the most common chronic inflammatory joint disease, characterized by progressive, intermittent inflammation leading to joint destruction and are among the most frequently diagnosed diseases in aged patients. The talk will cover the development of multiplexed organ-on-a-chips as next-gen in vitro models as disease model resembling onset and progression of inflammatory arthritis. Also, a teasing outlook on its application potential for replacement of animal models and future drug screening efforts will be discussed.


Networking Lunch in the Exhibit Hall, Exhibits and Poster Viewing

Session Title: Single Cell Analysis, Single Molecule Analysis and Label-Free Detection


A Systematic Comparison of Single Cell RNA-Seq Methods
Joshua Levin, Senior Group Leader, Research Scientist, Stanley Center for Psychiatric Research, Klarman Cell Observatory, The Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, United States of America

A multitude of single-cell RNA sequencing methods have been developed in recent years, with dramatic advances in scale and power, and enabling major discoveries and large scale cell mapping efforts. We directly compared seven methods for single cell and/or single nucleus profiling from three types of samples – cell lines, peripheral blood mononuclear cells and brain tissue. To analyze these datasets, we developed and applied scumi, a flexible computational pipeline that can be used for any scRNA-seq method. We evaluated the methods for both basic performance and for their ability to recover known biological information in the samples.


Liquid Biopsy using Nanotube-CTC-Chip
Balaji Panchapakesan, Professor, Department of Mechanical Engineering, Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI), United States of America

We report the further development of the nanotube-CTC-chip for isolation of tumor-derived epithelial cells (circulating tumor cells, CTCs) from peripheral blood, with high purity, by exploiting the physical mechanisms of preferential adherence of CTCs on a nanotube surface. The nanotube-CTC-chip is a new 76-element microarray technology that combines carbon nanotube surfaces with microarray batch manufacturing techniques for the capture and isolation of tumor-derived epithelial cells. Using a combination of red blood cell (RBC) lysis and preferential adherence, we demonstrate the capture and enrichment of CTCs with a 5-log reduction of contaminating WBCs. The nanotube-CTC-chip successfully captured CTCs in the peripheral blood of breast cancer patients (stage 1–4) with a range of 4–238 CTCs per 8.5 ml blood or 0.5–28 CTCs per ml. CTCs (based on CK8/18, Her2, EGFR) were successfully identified in breast cancer patients, and no CTCs were captured in healthy controls. CTC enumeration based on multiple markers using the nanotube-CTC-chip enables dynamic views of metastatic progression and could potentially have predictive capabilities for diagnosis and treatment response.


An Integrated Microfluidic Platform for Multi-Dimensional Analysis and Multi-Omic Classifications of Effector Immune Cell Functions
Tali Konry, Associate Professor, Northeastern University, United States of America

The outcome of many pathological diseases such as infection and cancer is determined by the interaction of diseased cells with various immune cell subsets, both of which are phenotypically and functionally diverse. Induced resistance to chemo- and immuno-therapeutic drugs remain one of the main challenges in modern medicine. Moreover, there exists significant inter-patient and even intra-patient variability in response to well-established drug regimens, making it difficult to predict a patient’s response to applied treatments. Single-cell analysis techniques have great potential in revealing, and ultimately utilizing, patient-specific cellular information to devise a more personalized approach to therapeutic regimens. Towards this goal we have developed a platform technology for characterizing single cell response, cell-cell communication and novel drug/immunotherapy targets in various diseases and overall could be beneficial in improving the efficacy of antibody drug therapy and develop effective drug combinations.


John NolanKeynote Presentation

Single Cells to Single Molecules: Biological Drivers and Practical Challenges
John Nolan, Professor, The Scintillon Institute, United States of America

Quantitative measurement of the molecular components of biological systems is essential to understanding and predicting their behavior. Modern cytometry technologies, including multiparameter flow and image cytometry, have enabled unprecedented views into the organization and function of both liquid organs (eg the immune system) and solid tissues at the single cell level. These technologies have revolutionized our ability to study and manipulate these systems, but have also revealed to need to understand the composition and organization of the sub-cellular molecular assemblies that are responsible for function. Sub-cellular cytometry challenges the sensitivity and resolution of the instruments and assays used to measure these systems, and demands a revised view of how to use instruments, reagents, and standards to produce rigorous and reproducible analysis tools. I will review recent advances in cytometry technologies and their applications to sub-cellular analysis, and use recent studies of cell-derived extracellular vesicles (EVs, aka exosomes and microvesicles) to illustrate new solutions and as yet unmet needs.

Panel Discussion on Single Cells and Single Molecules
Session Chair: John Nolan, Professor, The Scintillon Institute, United States of America


Panelists: Dr. John Nolan, The Scintillon Institute; Dr. Joshua Levin, The Broad Institute; Dr. Selim Ünlü, Boston University


Dr. John Nolan, The Scintillon Institute
Dr. Joshua Levin, The Broad Institute
Dr. Selim Ünlü, Boston University


Development of an Organ-on-a-Chip-Device For Nutrient Transport Measurement Across the Placental Barrier
Babak Mosavati, Researcher, Florida Atlantic University, United States of America

A 3D placental-on-a-chip model is developed to study the nutrient transfer across the maternal-fetal interface in Placental malaria(PM). This model may contribute to better understanding and potentially treatment of PM.


Devices for Isolation and Cultivation of Bacteria
Edgar Goluch, Associate Professor, Northeastern University, United States of America

The vast majority of bacterial species in environment as well as inside of our bodies have never been isolated and studied in a laboratory. While ‘omic techniques are providing incredible insights about microbial cells and populations, functions and interactions remain largely unknown. In this talk, I will present several iterations of microfluidic devices that my group has developed for isolating and culturing bacteria. These devices are being used to create libraries of cultivars that can be screened for production of novel compounds and metabolic processes, as well as for providing a better fundamental understanding of the role that bacteria play in human health and the environment.


Close of Day 2 of the Conference

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