MedE Special Seminar
Computing with Microfluidics
Microfluidics has endeavored to bring the advantages of integrated circuits to chemical and biological processes. However, system integration still falls far short of microelectronics, as on-chip pumps and valves typically require off-chip electronic and pneumatic components in order to function, thus increasing cost, complexity, and size. Pneumatic microfluidic valves are similar in many ways to electronic transistors, suggesting the possibility of constructing mechanical computers out of microfluidic circuits. Following this strategy, we have built a variety of digital logic systems, including a programmable finite state machine. These logic circuits can control networks of pumps and valves for liquid handling, allowing multistep laboratory procedures to be encoded into autonomous microfluidic networks. These devices contain no electronics and are powered simply by a static pressure differential. We envision that this technology will be attractive for laboratory automation and point-of-care medical applications.Biography:
Elliot Hui is Assistant Professor of Biomedical Engineering at the University of California, Irvine. He received the bachelor's degree in Physics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from the University of California, Berkeley. Following his doctoral work in microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) under Roger Howe, he studied liver tissue engineering as an NIH Kirschstein fellow in the laboratory of Sangeeta Bhatia at MIT. In 2008, he joined the faculty at UC Irvine. His research group employs tools such as MEMS, microfluidics, and optogenetics to control biological systems dynamically at the microscale. His interests include tumor progression and stem cell differentiation as well as point-of-care diagnostics. He is a recipient of the 2013 DARPA Young Faculty Award and the 2014 JALA Ten Breakthroughs in Innovation. He is a member of the Center for Advanced Design and Manufacturing of Integrated Microfluidics, the Center for Complex Biological Systems, and the Chao Family Comprehensive Cancer Center.