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SELECTBIO Conferences Innovations in Microfluidics 2021

Innovations in Microfluidics 2021 Agenda

Co-Located Conference Agendas

3D-Bioprinting 2021 | Innovations in Microfluidics 2021 | 

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Thursday, 18 March 2021


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

Session Title: Innovations in Microfluidics 2021 Conference Opening Session


Mehmet TonerKeynote Presentation

“More is More”: Precision Microfluidics of Cells in Large Bodily Fluids
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

The ability to process ‘real world-sized’ volumes has been a major drive in 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. 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.


David WeitzKeynote Presentation

D3 PCR: Ultra-Sensitive Detection with Drop Microfluidics
David Weitz, Mallinckrodt Professor of Physics and Applied Physics, Director of the Materials Research Science and Engineering Center, Harvard University, United States of America

This talk will describe a method for very sensitive detection using drop-based microfluidics to perform PCR.  To increase sensitivity and specificity, a second round of detection is used to read the contents of the drops with amplified targets.  This method can be applied to several different detection applications.


Diffusion-based Separation Using Bidirectional Electroosmotic Flow
Moran Bercovici, Associate Professor, Faculty of Mechanical Engineering; Head, Technion Microfluidic Technologies Laboratory, Technion, Israel Institute of Technology, Israel

We present a microscale separation method that leverages bidirectional flow, generated by an array of alternate-current field-effect electrodes, to electroosmotically tune the dispersion regime of molecules and particles. Under bidirectional flow the relative motion of species due to differences in their molecular diffusivity can be significantly enhanced. The system can be configured so that low diffusivity species experience a ballistic transport regime and are advected through the chamber, whereas high diffusivity species experience a diffusion dominated regime with zero average velocity and are retained in the chamber.  We experimentally demonstrate the separation of particles, antibodies, and dyes, and present a theoretical analysis of the system, providing engineering guidelines for its optimal design and operation. This method provides means for leveraging molecular diffusivity for analysis and sample preparation applications, particularly for sub-microliter sample volumes that are not compatible with standard separation techniques.


Morning Coffee Break and Networking


Dino Di CarloKeynote Presentation

Selection of Single Cells by Function Using Lab on a Particle Technology
Dino Di Carlo, Professor and Vice Chair of Bioengineering, University of California-Los Angeles, United States of America

The ability to create picoliter and nanoliter compartments using microfluidics has driven biotechnology at its ultimate "quantum limit" of single cells and molecules.  I will discuss the progress we have made in developing assays for cell secretion and growth, leveraging particles to impart new features on compartments, such as ease of use or compatibility with production environments. I will discuss applications ranging from microalgal culture and clone selection to workflows for selecting antibody-secreting cells using standard fluorescence activated cell sorters. Lab on a particle technology promises to expand the capabilities and the accessibility of quantum biological assays.


John RogersKeynote Presentation

Soft Microfluidic Systems for Human Skin
John Rogers, Simpson/Querrey Professor of Materials Science and Engineering, Northwestern University, United States of America

Recent advances in materials, mechanics and manufacturing establish the foundations for high performance classes of microfluidic lab-on-a-chip technologies that have physical properties matched those of the human skin.  The resulting devices can integrate with the surface of the skin in a water-tight yet physically imperceptible fashion, to provide continuous, clinical-quality biochemical information on physiological status via capture, storage and in situ analysis of sweat.  This talk summarizes the key ideas and presents specific recent examples in skin-interfaced microfluidic technologies designed for applications in sports performance, worker safety and nutritional monitoring.


Networking Lunch in the Exhibit Hall for the Physical On-Site Participants


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.


Steve SoperKeynote Presentation

Affinity Selection and Enumeration of SARS-CoV-2 Viral Particles from Saliva Samples using Microfluidics for COVID-19 Diagnostics
Steve Soper, Foundation Distinguished Professor, Director, Center of BioModular Multi-scale System for Precision Medicine, The University of Kansas, Adjunct Professor, Ulsan National Institute of Science & Technology, United States of America

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) arises from the SARS-CoV-2 virus and has been found to be highly contagious. To mitigate spreading, testing has been deemed an important asset. Testing has predominately utilized RT-qPCR as well as serological-based tests. However, while new machines are rolling out for point-of-care testing (POCT), issues are present with these common testing systems, for example the need for reagents (e.g. enzymes, fluorescent reporters, antibodies), workflows that sometimes require specialized operators, and the inability to distinguish between infectious and non-infectious individuals, which is important in determining the need for quarantining. We report an innovative COVID-19 diagnostic test that directly addresses the aforementioned issues. The assay accepts a clinical sample and specifically selects SARS-CoV-2 particles from the sample using surface-immobilized DNA aptamers targeting the spike protein, releases photolytically the selected viral particles (VPs), and then counts the number of SARS-CoV-2 particles using a label-free approach. The workflow is simple and fully automated and also, no reagents are required once the assay is deployed for testing. The entire assay was carried out using microfluidic chips made from a plastic that were injection molded to allow for high scale production at low cost. The VP selection chip consisted of 1.5 million pillars that allowed for affinity loading up to 1010 SARS-CoV-2 particles at a recovery ~90%. Following selection, the VPs were released from the capture surface using a photocleavable linker by a blue-light LED (79% release efficiency) and subsequently counted using a nano-Coulter Counter (nCC). For high throughput single VP counting, 5 nCCs were placed in parallel and offered 100% detection efficiency for VPs travelling through a 200 nm pore. The entire assay could be completed in <20 min. In a 20 patient blinded study, the test correctly identified 10 non-infected individuals (clinical specificity = 100%) and in 5 COVID-19 patients, VPs were detected indicative of “active” disease, while 4/5 others were deemed infected by RT-qPCR, but those individuals had no VPs suggesting these patients were not contagious (clinical sensitivity = 95%).


Redbud LabsSingle-Button Nucleic Acid Extraction for Rapid, Reliable Molecular Testing
Richard Chasen Spero, CEO, Redbud Labs

There are myriad exciting microfluidic platforms for molecular analysis, but few are designed to work with raw samples. We describe a new initiative at Redbud Labs to enable single-button sample preparation on a microfluidic cartridge, focusing on nucleic acid extraction for amplification and sequencing applications. Our method combines gold-standard laboratory biochemistry with cartridge-ready™ chips, MXR™DryPak and STR™BeadPak, to deliver lab-quality yield, fast runtimes, and compact design. We will also share strategies employed to develop our platform on a highly compressed timeline.


Microfluidic Tools For Monitoring the Immune System
Joel Voldman, Clarence J. Lebel Professor of Electrical Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, United States of America

Microsystems have the potential to impact biology by providing new ways to manipulate, separate, and otherwise interrogate cells.  Immune cells are of particular interest because of their central role in defending the body against foreign invaders.  As a consequence, many microfluidic devices have been used to study both the basic biology of immune cells as well as to assay them for clinical use. Our lab has developed technologies on both ends of the spectrum, from cell pairing devices able to study information flow in immune cells, to electrical sorting devices for assaying immune cell function in response to disease. In terms of cell pairing, we have developed two complementary approaches to creating programmed pairs of cells, one using capture “cups” and a three-step back-and-forth loading procedure to pair thousands of cells in parallel, and the other using microfluidic “corrals” to contain cells. With these devices we can pair immune cells with each other or with other cells (i.e., tumor cells) to study information flow from first contact to downstream effector functions, elucidating how decision-making occurs in these interactions.


Afternoon Break


Microfluidics’ New Wave: Digitally-Fabricated Microdevices
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.


axiVEND LLCThe Simultaneous Determination of Biomolecules Binding Affinities On Multiple Varied Immobilization Surfaces
Claude Dufresne, CEO, axiVEND LLC

In many microfluidics devices, biomolecules are captured by pre-deposited proteins in channels, reaction chambers, or on microarrays. The correct immobilization of these proteins is critical to obtain the best device performance.  While many polymeric materials exist for protein immobilization, it is often quite tedious to go through a selection process.  Beyond binding capacity as a classic factor, often the orientation and functional ligand activity are more important.

This talk will present a method by which multiple polymers can be evaluated in parallel, in the same experiment.  Dozens of candidate surface binding polymeric materials are spotted on a Si/SiO2 chip, followed by spot-on-spot protein functionalization.  Target protein capture is then observed by interferometric reflectance. This allows for binding curves to be generated for each protein/surface polymer pair, in parallel, and under the same conditions.  The results are invaluable in assessing various polymeric formulations for optimal presentation of the capture molecule and its ensuing target molecule binding properties.

Since the underlying device material is covered with the binding polymer, the method described is applicable to a wide range of applications.


Highly Multiplexed Diagnostics with Droplet Microfluidics Enhanced by Compressed Sensing
Pavan Kota, Ph.D. Student, Dept of Bioengineering, Rice University, United States of America

The authors present an in vitro demonstration of a new algorithm that leverages the Poisson statistics of droplet microfluidics for highly multiplexed diagnostics. This work challenges the conventionally assumed requirements of single-molecule capture and target-specific sensors.


Rapid Pre-Concentration for Salivary Measurement of Respiratory Viruses such as Influenza and COVID
Amy Drexelius, PhD Candidate, University of Cincinnati, United States of America

If there were a simple and passive technique, that would downshift the range of detection of all your sensors and analytes by 10-100X, what value would you place on such a breakthrough? Presented are single step and fast membrane pre-concentration devices for applications ranging from continuous wearable biosensing (sweat, interstitial fluid) to point of care diagnostics (blood, urine, saliva), which can detect analytes present in respiratory viruses such as influenza and COVID-19.  These devices now show >10X preconcentration in minutes for analytes ranging from small molecules (e.g. cortisol) to large proteins (influenza).  Further demonstrated are techniques that allow rapid adaptation of the devices for a wide variety of sensing modalities, including those sensitive to changes in pH or salinity.


Shannon StottKeynote Presentation

Microfluidics Technology Development For Liquid Biopsy
Shannon Stott, Assistant Professor, Massachusetts General Hospital & Harvard Medical School, United States of America

This talk will outline the steps taken for technology development and validation for the microfluidic devices developed in our laboratory. I will share data from our effort to develop a blood test for brain tumors, with a focus on signatures obtained from circulating tumor  cells and extracellular vesicles.


Close of Day 1 of the Conference

Friday, 19 March 2021

Please View Details of Day 2 of the Event Under the 3D-Bioprinting Track Agenda Section

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