Superfund Research Program
Field-Deployable Lab-on-a-Chip Nanosensing Platforms for Health and Environmental Monitoring
Project Leader: Tingrui Pan
Grant Number: P42ES004699
Funding Period: 2017-2022
Low-volume liquid handling (below 1 microliter) is heavily used in a variety of biomedical and clinical applications, ranging from polymerase chain reaction (PCR), immunoassays and drug screening, to some emerging areas, such as synthetic biological studies and individualized medicine. While the research team’s previously developed microfluidic adaptive printing (MAP) technology enables precise control of droplet size ranging from 1 nL to 100 nL, it lacks a microfluidic-robotic interface (MRI) to automate low-volume liquid handling operations. To address this, a robotic printing system has been established for high-throughput and automated sample preparation in genetic multifactorial studies. In addition, in order to automate more advanced liquid handling operations in sample preparation, the researchers further demonstrated the concept of a multifunctional microfluidic-robotic interface, which enables the liquid sample to be both transferred in and printed/dispensed out into a custom robot-friendly liquid container. In addition, extraction columns can be integrated into the chip design for automated sample extraction. The multifunctional microfluidic-robotic interface not only enables adaptive printing, but also can potentially be used to automate a complete sample preparation protocol for labor-free and cost-saving field-deployable analysis and monitoring purposes.