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SELECTBIO Conferences Innovations in Microfluidics 2020

Innovations in Microfluidics 2020 Agenda

Co-Located Conference Agendas

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

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Monday, 23 March 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.


David L. KaplanKeynote Presentation

Title to be Confirmed.
David L. Kaplan, Stern Family Endowed Professor of Engineering, Professor & Chair -- Dept of Biomedical Engineering, Tufts University, United States of America


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.


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


Microfluidic Tools For Analyzing Cells Via Intrinsic Properties
Joel Voldman, Professor and Associate Department Head, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, United States of America

Microsystems have the potential to impact biology and medicine by providing new ways to manipulate, separate, and otherwise interrogate cells.  Simply physically manipulating cells—using microfluidics, electric fields, acoustics, etc.—provides new ways to separate cells and organize cell-cell interactions.  One example illustrating the power of microscale manipulation of cells is to sort cells based on their intrinsic electrical properties.  Electrical properties have previously been correlated with important biological phenotypes (apoptosis, cancer, etc.), but a sensitive and specific method approach has been lacking.  We have developed a method called iso-dielectric separation that uses electric fields to drive cells to the point in a conductivity gradient where they become electrically transparent, resulting in a continuous separation method specific to electrical properties.  With this method, we are developing a point-of-care assay that can quickly assay immune cell activation, which has applications for monitoring inflammation in sepsis and other immune disorders.


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.


May the Capillary Force Be With You: Microfluidic Capillaric Circuits
David Juncker, Professor and Chair, McGill University, Canada

Microfluidics and lab-on-a-chip carry the promise of rapid analysis, economy of reagents and use at the point-of-care analysis using minute amounts of reagents. Here, our efforts in making microchannel-based capillary microfluidics will be discussed, and the realization of advanced circuits – termed capillaric circuits in analogy to electronic circuits –that realize complex fluidic operation simply by a combination of the microscale geometry and control over surface chemistry. Basic elements including capillary pumps, trigger valves, retention flow valves, air valves and so on, will be introduced, and their use for sequential autonomous and pre-programmed delivery of 96 reagents as well as for timing illustrated. The application of capillaric circuits for a rapid diagnostic for urinary tract infection in 7 min, measles vaccination testing, and automation of the thrombogram to characterize haemostatic-thrombotic mechanism of the blood will be presented. The transition from microfabrication to rapid prototyping and 3D printing of capillaric circuits makes them easy-to-fabricate and readily accessible to a wide audience.


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


Close of Day 1 of the Conference

Tuesday, 24 March 2020


Morning Coffee, Tea and Pastries in the Exhibit Hall

Session Title: Applications of Microfluidics in Key Areas


Michael ShulerKeynote Presentation

Microfabrication and Cell Culture: Building a “Body-on-a-Chip” to Enhance Drug Development
Michael Shuler, Samuel B. Eckert Professor of Engineering, Cornell University, President & CEO, Hesperos, Inc., United States of America

Human microphysiological or “Body-on-a-Chip” systems are powerful tools to assess the potential efficacy and toxicity of drugs in pre-clinical studies.  Having a human based, multiorgan system, that emulates key aspects of human physiology can provide important insights to complement animal studies and in vitro studies using human cells from a single organ in the decision about which drugs to move into clinical trials.  These systems are constructed using a polymeric platform (eg. PMMA) that house interconnected modules with tissue mimics of various organs.  The system design is based on physiologically based pharmacokinetics-pharmacodynamic (PBPK-PD) models. Each module emulates an organ or tissue in the body.  Each module is constructed using techniques of traditional microfabrication combined with cell cultures typically using primary cells, induced pluripotent stem cells, or established cell cultures. Our goal is to construct low cost systems that can be operated robustly for 28 days using a chemically defined medium and a novel pumpless system.  In addition to traditional measurements of circulating biomarkers we measure electrical activity using microelectrode arrays and cellular force generation using silicon cantilevers as functional measures of organ response to drugs or chemicals. Using a system with four or more organs we can predict the exchange of metabolites between organ compartments in response to various drugs and dose levels. We have constructed models incorporating barrier tissues such as GI tract, blood brain barrier, and skin with internal organs such as liver, cardiac, and neuromuscular junctions. With these systems, we can predict both efficacy and toxicity of drugs in humans from preclinical studies.  Further, we can use these systems to investigate temporal concentration relationships of drugs during preclinical development4. We believe that these “Body-on-a-Chip” systems have great potential to increase the efficiency of conversion of drug candidates into successful projects.


Merging Human Microphysiological Systems with Quantitative Systems Pharmacology for In Vitro In Vivo Translation
Murat Cirit, CEO & Co-Founder, Javelin Biotech, United States of America

A large percentage of drug candidates fail at the clinical trial stage due to a lack of efficacy and unacceptable toxicity, primarily because of translational gap between human physiology and preclinical models including both in vitro culture and animal models. This need for more human-physiology relevant in vitro systems for preclinical efficacy and toxicity testing has led to a major effort to develop “Microphysiological Systems (MPS)”, aka tissue chips (TC) or organs on chips (OOC), based on engineered human tissue constructs.

MPSs hold promise for improving therapeutic drug approval rates by providing more physiological, human-based, in vitro assays for preclinical drug development activities compared to traditional in vitro and animal models. The full impact of MPS technologies to bridge the gap preclinical and clinical gap will be realized only when robust approaches for in vitro–in vivo (MPS-to-human) translation are developed and utilized.


Peter ErtlKeynote Presentation

Title to be Confirmed.
Peter Ertl, Professor of Lab-on-a-Chip Systems, Vienna University of Technology, Austria


Morning Coffee Break and Networking in the Exhibit Hall


Suvajyoti GuhaKeynote Presentation

Advancing Innovation in Microfluidics: The Regulatory Perspective
Suvajyoti Guha, Mechanical Engineer, US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), United States of America

The objective of this talk would be to provide an update on the activities US FDA has engaged on for advancing innovation in microfluidics. The current collaborations, the type of research being done, and the steps FDA has taken to gather real world data on microfluidics will also be discussed.


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.


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.


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.


M. Selim ÜnlüKeynote Presentation

Title to be Confirmed.
M. Selim Ünlü, Distinguished Professor of Engineering, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Boston University, United States of America


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.

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