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SELECTBIO Conferences Innovations in Microfluidics & SCA 2022

Innovations in Microfluidics & SCA 2022 Agenda

Co-Located Conference Agendas

Biofabrication & Biomanufacturing 2022 | Clinical Translation of Organoids and Organs-on-Chips 2022 | Innovations in Microfluidics & SCA 2022 | Rapid Diagnostic Testing 2022 - SARS-CoV-2 & Beyond | 

Print Agenda

Monday, 21 March 2022


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

Session Title: Innovations in Microfluidics -- A Snapshot in 2022


Mehmet TonerKeynote Presentation

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” 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 (CTCs) 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.


Steve SoperKeynote Presentation

Plastic-based Nanofluidic Devices for Single Molecule DNA/RNA Sequencing
Steve Soper, Foundation Distinguished Professor, Director, Center of BioModular Multi-Scale System for Precision Medicine, The University of Kansas, United States of America

We are generating a single-molecule, amplification-free DNA/RNA sequencing platform that can acquire sequencing information with high accuracy (>95%) at unprecedented throughputs (106 bases s-1). The technology employs high density arrays of nanochannels that read the identity of individual mononucleotides from their molecular-dependent electrophoretic mobilities through a 2-dimensional (2D) nanochannel (~50 nm in width and depth; >10 µm in length) fabricated in a thermoplastic via nanoimprint lithography (NIL) or injection compression molding. The single mononucleotides are generated from an intact DNA fragment using a highly processive exonuclease, which is covalently anchored to a plastic solid support contained within a bioreactor that sequentially feeds cleaved mononucleotides into the 2D nano-electrophoresis channel. The identity of each mononucleotide is deduced from its molecular-dependent electrophoretic mobility through the 2D nanochannel. The mobility is read in a label-free fashion by measuring current transients (i.e., resistive pulse sensing) induced by a single mononucleotide when it travels through a constriction with molecular dimensions (<10 nm in effective diameter) poised at the input/output ends of the electrophoresis channel.

In this presentation, our results in using nanoscale electrophoresis to deduce the identity of both the deoxynucleotides and ribonucleotides will be discussed, especially material and scaling effects on the performance of nano-electrophoresis. Also, different surface modification strategies of thermoplastics will be presented that alter the electroosmostic flow and its effects on separation performance. I will also discuss the surface immobilization of exonucleases onto solid-plastic supports using UV/O3 activation with EDC/NHS coupling chemistry. In particular, the effects of surface immobilization on enzyme kinetic rates, processivity, and stability will be discussed. Finally, the fabrication and operation of in-plane nanopore sensors to detect single molecules will be discussed.


Lydia SohnKeynote Presentation

mechano-NPS: An Electronic Method to Mechanically Phenotype Cells
Lydia Sohn, Almy C. Maynard and Agnes Offield Maynard Chair in Mechanical Engineering, University of California-Berkeley, United States of America

We have developed an efficient, label-free method of screening cells for their phenotypic profile, which we call Node-Pore Sensing (NPS). NPS involves measuring the modulated current pulse caused by a cell transiting a microfluidic channel that has been segmented by a series of inserted nodes. Previously, we showed that when segments between the nodes are functionalized with different antibodies corresponding to distinct cell-surface antigens, immunophenotyping can be achieved. In this talk, I will show how we have significantly advanced NPS by simply inserting between two nodes a “contraction” channel through which cells can squeeze. “Mechano-NPS”, as we now call our method, can simultaneously measure a cell’s size, stiffness, and ability to recover from deformation. We have used mechano-NPS to assess the mechanical properties of acute promyelocytic leukemia (APL) cells. APL is an acute myeloid leukemia subtype for which all-trans retinoic acid (ATRA) is an essential therapy. 20% of APL patients are resistant to ATRA, which must be administered during the acute phase of the disease to prevent death. We show that ATRA resistant APL cells are less mechanically pliable than ATRA-responsive cells. Thus, a potential biomarker for APL resistance may ultimately be mechanical stiffness.


Mid-Morning Coffee Break and Networking


Nicole PammeKeynote Presentation

On-Site Diagnostics in Resource-Limited Settings
Nicole Pamme, Professor in Analytical Chemistry, Stockholm University, Sweden

Our research centers on the study of microfluidic lab-on-a-chip devices applied to environmental analysis, biomedical research and the synthesis of smart materials. Microfluidic devices offer the possibility for in-the-field and point-of-care analysis provided the devices are portable, require only minimal external instrumentation and little power and are robust. In our group, we are investigating a simple to operate workflows for pathogen isolation from clinical and environmental matrices in collaboration with researchers in South Africa and Kenya. This has included projects on the analysis of pathogens in waste water, pathogens in maternal health monitoring and analysis of SARS-CoV-2 RNA.


Networking Lunch in the Exhibit Hall with Exhibitors and Conference Sponsors + Poster Viewing


A 3D Printed Lightbox for Enhancing Nitrate Detection in the Field Using Microfluidic Paper-Based Devices
Amer Charbaji, Researcher, University of Rhode Island, United States of America

Paper-based microfluidic devices have demonstrated their capabilities of detecting low concentrations of analytes of interest in a variety of applications such as environmental monitoring, healthcare, food safety and have also found many other miscellaneous uses such as in portable fuel cells. The majority of these devices use colorimetric detection and can deliver qualitative or quantitative results at the point of care and without the need of specialized equipment for analysis. In general, paper-based microfluidic devices are made up of several different sections and may include portions that allow proper fluid manipulation and control. These devices have the advantage of being inexpensive, simple, portable and easy to use and allow sample flow across the different sections of the device without the need for a pump. This results in device miniaturization and cost savings which make them suitable for use by citizen scientists to help in collecting a large amount of data for analysis and decision making by policy makers. This also allows oceanographers and marine scientists to better choose locations from which they will collect their water samples in the field to send back to the lab for further analysis. Nitrate is the most stable form of nitrogen in oxygenated environments and the continuous measurement of its concentration in natural water bodies or in sources used for drinking water is of great importance to make sure that there isn’t any alarming increase. Recent advancements in paper-based technology allowed the enhanced detection of nitrate in water samples. Desktop scanners provide a simple and inexpensive method for capturing the colorimetric signal produced in the detection zone of paper-based devices; however, these scanners are not practical for use in the field. Previous work has shown that capturing the color produced by the Griess assay using a desktop scanner and analyzing its green component yields the best limits of detection and quantification. This can be attributed to the fact that green is the complimentary color of the visible pinkish red azo dye produced by the Griess reaction since the highest absorbance or light occurs at a wavelength that corresponds to that of visible green light. In this study, we build on our previous work and develop a 3D printed lightbox that utilize LEDs to deliver a portable imaging device. The LEDs emit green light with a wavelength that spans the range 495 to 555 nm for use with paper-based microfluidic devices utilizing the Griess assay for nitrate or nitrite detection in the field.

Session Title: Afternoon Session -- Microfluidics and Single Cell Analysis


Sphere Fluidics Ltd.Development of a Novel Single Cell Encapsulation System
John McGrath, Senior Scientist, Sphere Fluidics Ltd.

Sphere Fluidics has industrialized picodroplet (i.e. pL volume aqueous droplets in oil) technology to enable the screening of tens of millions of single cells and subsequently isolate rare or “high producer” cells. A new instrument is currently being developed at Sphere Fluidics, in partnership with Heriot-Watt University (UK), which enables the rapid and accurate encapsulation of cells in an emulsion of picodroplets of high monodispersity. The semi-automated system relies on closed-loop image-based feedback to enable the calculation of individual picodroplet volumes and subsequently regulate the input pressure of the fluid flow line(s) of the system to adjust and maintain droplet volume over long time periods. This reduces the potential effects of long-term drift in the fluid infusion system and bioassay results are improved due to the superior reproducibility of the cell encapsulation process. This modular system is designed with the objective to be integratable with Sphere Fluidics’ other patented technology to enable a range of novel microfluidic processes and analytics on single and pools of cells.


Dino Di CarloKeynote Presentation

Analyzing and Sorting Single Cells based on Function Using Lab on a Particle Technology
Dino Di Carlo, Armond and Elena Hairapetian Chair in Engineering and Medicine, Professor and Vice Chair of Bioengineering, University of California-Los Angeles, United States of America

We have developed 3D-shaped hydrogel microparticle platforms to capture cells, as well as isolate and label their secretions. These “lab on a particle” systems enable sorting cells based on secreted products for the discovery of antibodies, the development of cell lines producing recombinant products, and the selection of functional cells for cell therapies. Each cell and its secreted products can be analyzed using widely available flow cytometers operating at up to a 1000 cells per second. I will discuss our latest results in sorting antigen-specific T cells and mesenchymal stem cells based on secreted cytokines, extracellular vesicles, and growth factors. Cells sorted based on these properties are intact, can regrow, and maintain the selected function over multiple population doublings, enabling cell therapy discovery and manufacturing workflows.


Patterning of Cell Culture Inside an Exosome Gradient-Generating Microfluidic Device
Sara Micheli, Researcher, Università degli studi di Padova , Italy

The plasma-based etching method developed in this work enables patterned cell culture inside a gradient-generating microfluidic device. This combined microfluidic platform allows studying complex exosomes concentration-dependent cell responses precisely induced and quantified within a single device.


Real-Time, Electrical Cell Migration Measurements of Cancer Cells in Microfluidic Devices
Alexander Guttenplan, Guest Researcher, NIST, United States of America

Tumor cell migration is an important indicator of cancer aggressiveness. A microfluidic device has been developed which uses dielectrophoresis to trap cells on a porous membrane, and electrical impedance to measure their migration through it.


Microplastics Identification Using Microfluidics: Towards Continuous Recognition
Pedro Mesquita, Research Assistant, University of Rhode Island, United States of America

Plastic pollution has emerged as a global concern yet low-cost but effective identification of microplastics is still in demand. Here, we present a novel 3D printed microplastic recognition device based on the staining agent Nile Red.


Microfluidic Detection of SARS-CoV-2 and Virus-Related Extracellular Vesicles to Predict Outcome in COVID-19 Patients
Daniel Rabe, Research Fellow, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, The Broad Institute, United States of America

Robust, efficient, and reliable testing for SARS-CoV-2 is extraordinarily challenging due to lack of ultra-sensitive assays and evolving knowledge of the virus. Standard PCR based assays do not only provide only binary positivity outputs and have no information on the infectivity or potential outcome of patients. Many studies have shown the role of an over-active immune system during COVID infection leading to more serious outcomes. Our laboratory has applied microfluidic technologies for the isolation of cell-specific extracellular vesicles (EVs) in the blood of patients with cancer. We hypothesized that plasma viral load as well as COVID-related EVs can predict severity of disease. For this project, we optimized our EVHB-Chip to isolate intact SARS-CoV-2 virus as well as epithelial and immune EVs. By running each chip in series, we can isolate virus and EVs from the same patient plasma sample to determine how they differ between cases. We will utilize RNAseq of 10 less severe COVID-19 patients compared to 10 patients with severe disease requiring ICU care to determine cellular EV markers that can predict disease severity. Preliminary ddPCR of EV RNA has shown higher levels of CD14, CD45, CXCL1, and IL1B in innate immune EVs of severe COVID patients compared to less severe patients. Additionally, T-Cell EVs show higher levels of CCL5, CD3, and CD45 in patients with severe COVID. We have detected intact SARS-CoV-2 in the plasma of banked COVID-19 patient plasma. To determine the clinical efficacy of viral detection, we are testing 50 plasma samples within two days of COVID-19 diagnosis and will compare viral load to patient outcome. Using COVID-19 infection related EVs in addition to intact SARS-CoV-2 viral detection, our assay has the potential to provide further insight into the potential infectivity and outcome for COVID-19 patients. Our results show that EV analysis of COVID-19 patients has the potential to help predict disease severity. It is essential to determine which patients are more likely to need intensive care and intervention as this deadly pandemic continues to spread.

Please Refer to the Rapid Dx: SARS-CoV-2 and Beyond Agenda for Programming Details for Remainder of the Day (Monday, March 21, 2022)

Tuesday, 22 March 2022

Please Refer to the Organoids & Organ-on-a-Chip Agenda for Programming Details of Tuesday, March 22, 2022

Add to Calendar ▼2022-03-21 00:00:002022-03-22 00:00:00Europe/LondonInnovations in Microfluidics and SCA 2022Innovations in Microfluidics and SCA 2022 in Boston, USABoston,