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Jan 7th, 2014
Microfluidics and Lab on Chip: State of the art and future opportunities
An interview with Dr. Rashid Bashir
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During the last decade, nano- and micro-technology research has become an important industry. It is a rapidly growing, highly interdisciplinary field at the interface of physics, engineering, chemistry and biology. The pico to nanoliter scale not only allows a high degree of parallelisation, but also offers superb control. Small objects such as cells can be exposed to unique conditions, facilitating entirely novel approaches, which will be discussed at the conference.

SELECTBIO’s 6th Lab-on-a-Chip European Congress will bring together leaders from both academia and industry to discuss innovative developments in this exciting field. Attention will be given to some of the many applications of Labs-on-Chips, from the enhancement of life science research to taking diagnostics to the point of need. The congress will be held in Berlin, Germany from 10-11 March 2014.

The congress will be co-located with Advances in Biodetection & Biosensors, Single Cell Analysis Europe and Advances in Microarray Technology. Registered delegates will have unrestricted access to all co-located meetings.

Keynote speaker, Dr. Rashid Bashir, Professor, University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign, will discuss the state of the art and future opportunities in microfluidics and Lab-on-a-Chip. In today's blog, he shares some of the insights he will cover during his keynote speech.

SELECTBIO: What are some of the key points concerning recent advances in microfluidics you plan to cover during your keynote speech?

Bashir: I plan to discuss and present the recent advances in microfluidic biochips as point of care devices for blood cell analysis. I also plan to discuss advances in electrically based approaches to detection of biological entities at point of care.

SELECTBIO: What do you feel are the current challenges in microfluidics and Lab-on-a-Chip technologies?

Bashir: The sample preparation and use of real world samples in microfluidics and lab on chip.

SELECTBIO: Tell us more about the intersection of biology and engineering at the micro and nanoscale; what makes this area so exciting?

Bashir: There are so many important problems to be solved that can have a real world impact on health and medicines. From many applications in diagnostics, therapeutics, tissue engineering, bioinspired materials, precision measurements, and on and on – the possibilities are endless.

SELECTBIO: You've worked in both industry and academic labs, and you've been involved in two startups that have licensed your technologies. You've been busy! What do you like best about each?

Bashir: All of it – I love working with students and my group to make this all happen. I like to see advances in technology and science make a translational impact. University is the ideal place to push the limits of science and technology and new ideas, and startups and companies are the ideal place to push those into real applications and products. We can make an impact in both and have the real world applications drive our basic research.

SELECTBIO: What sparked your interest in microfluidics and Lab-on-a-Chip; i.e., how did you get started in the field?

Bashir: While I worked in electronics, semiconductor and MEMS originally, I was very fascinated with biology and completed requisite course work to engage in research at the interface of engineering and biology. Microfluidics, bioMEMS and Lab on Chip was the ideal intersection of these two worlds and became my passion.

SELECTBIO: What are some of the more interesting findings that have come about as a result of your investigations using microfluidics and Lab-on-a-Chip?

Bashir: We have developed microfluidic devices for detection of bacterial growth, for detection of DNA molecules in nanopores, and for counting of cells from whole blood. I will present many of these findings in my presentation.

SELECTBIO: What are some of the innovations you think will occur in the area of microfluidics and Lab-on-a-Chip methodologies in the future?

Bashir: No one has the crystal ball, but I think innovations in microfluidics and Lab on Chip will come from integrating real world samples and related problems and challenges, development of sample preparation techniques, and development of new sensing approaches – all coupled to hand-held devices and point of care sensors for pervasive applications for sensing at home, at doctor’s office, at bed side and at resource limited settings – for sensitive detection of disease to advance personalized and precision medicine.

For more information about Dr Bashir's talk and to view the complete agenda, click here

You can register to attend here

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