Special Issue "Frontiers of Microfluidics in Biology"

A special issue of Bioengineering (ISSN 2306-5354).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (20 November 2018)

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Dr. Jack Merrin

Nanofabrication Facility, Institute of Science and Technology Austria, Klosterneuburg, Austria
E-Mail
Interests: microfluidics for biological applications and physics

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Microfluidics is a useful tool in the study of biology and medicine, from the single molecule level, such as single cell DNA sequencing or single cell RNA profiling, to the properties of gene expression and genetic noise, and all the way up to the systems biology level.

Increasingly more microfluidic assays are being developed for the isolation of rare cells, separation of cell types, single cell analysis of rare cells, and pharmacological investigations. Assays and culture of cells are now routinely miniaturized with microfluidics through droplets, chemical reaction chambers, and mother machines.

Meanwhile, microfluidics can also facilitate biochemical and DNA computation. Organisms built into arcade systems now perform as hardware components in biotic games. Microfluidic inkjet printing facilitates the synthesis of DNA with error correction allowing new cellular processes and organisms to be designed from the ground up.

This Special Issue provides a platform and advanced academic forum for the experts in the area of microfluidics to share their knowledge. We look forward to your contributions.

Dr. Jack Merrin

Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Bioengineering is an international peer-reviewed open access quarterly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 550 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Published Papers (4 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle Nut and Bolt Microfluidics with Helical Minichannel for Counting CD4+ T-Cells
Bioengineering 2019, 6(1), 24; https://doi.org/10.3390/bioengineering6010024
Received: 26 February 2019 / Revised: 7 March 2019 / Accepted: 12 March 2019 / Published: 15 March 2019
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Abstract
In this study, we developed the prototype of an optical imaging-based point-of-care (POC) device for monitoring human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)/acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) progression that can detect CD4+ T-lymphocytes in human blood. The proposed portable cell-counting system, Helios CD4 Analyzer (Helios), can acquire [...] Read more.
In this study, we developed the prototype of an optical imaging-based point-of-care (POC) device for monitoring human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)/acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) progression that can detect CD4+ T-lymphocytes in human blood. The proposed portable cell-counting system, Helios CD4 Analyzer (Helios), can acquire sample images and analyze the cells automatically using a simple fluorescence imaging module and sample cartridge with a three-dimensional (3D) helical minichannel. The helical minichannel formed on the cylindrical surface enables the sample cartridge to hold a cell suspension present in a fixed sample volume for absolute counting of the cells. With a given total channel length, the helical minichannel-based sample cartridge is smaller than the conventional sample cartridge with a planar microchannel. The implemented nut and bolt mechanism allows the scanning of a relatively large volume of the sample along the helical minichannel by just rotating the cylindrical chamber coupled with a single DC motor rather than using a two-axis motorized translation stage, which considerably simplifies the associated electromechanical parts. It has distinct advantages over the existing devices because of its small size and simple scanning mechanism. We optimized various imaging parameters to enhance the fluorescence detection efficiency of the prototype. Performance evaluations using human blood samples demonstrated good agreement for low CD4 count between the Helios and the PIMATM, one of the most widely used POC CD4+ analyzers. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Frontiers of Microfluidics in Biology)
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Open AccessArticle Viscous Fingering of Miscible Liquids in Porous and Swellable Media for Rapid Diagnostic Tests
Bioengineering 2018, 5(4), 94; https://doi.org/10.3390/bioengineering5040094
Received: 15 September 2018 / Revised: 22 October 2018 / Accepted: 23 October 2018 / Published: 29 October 2018
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Abstract
In lateral flow and colorimetric test strip diagnostics, the effects of capillary action and diffusion on speed and sensitivity have been well studied. However, another form of fluid motion can be generated due to stresses and instabilities generated in pores when two miscible [...] Read more.
In lateral flow and colorimetric test strip diagnostics, the effects of capillary action and diffusion on speed and sensitivity have been well studied. However, another form of fluid motion can be generated due to stresses and instabilities generated in pores when two miscible liquids with different densities and viscosities come into contact. This study explored how a swellable test pad can be deployed for measuring urea in saliva by partially prefilling the pad with a miscible solution of greater viscosity and density. The resultant Korteweg stresses and viscous fingering patterns were analyzed using solutions with added food color through video analysis and image processing. Image analysis was simplified using the saturation channel after converting RGB image sequences to HSB. The kinetics of liquid mixing agreed with capillary displacement results for miscible liquids undergoing movement from Korteweg stresses. After capillary filling, there was significant movement of liquid due to these fluidic effects, which led to mixing of the saliva sample with an enzyme test solution. Owing to the simplicity and speed of this test method, urea can be analyzed with an electronic nose over a useful range for detecting salivary urea concentration for rapid and early detection of dehydration. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Frontiers of Microfluidics in Biology)
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Review

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Open AccessReview Mobile Microfluidics
Bioengineering 2019, 6(1), 5; https://doi.org/10.3390/bioengineering6010005
Received: 18 November 2018 / Revised: 22 December 2018 / Accepted: 24 December 2018 / Published: 3 January 2019
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Abstract
Microfluidics platforms can program small amounts of fluids to execute a bio-protocol, and thus, can automate the work of a technician and also integrate a large part of laboratory equipment. Although most microfluidic systems have considerably reduced the size of a laboratory, they [...] Read more.
Microfluidics platforms can program small amounts of fluids to execute a bio-protocol, and thus, can automate the work of a technician and also integrate a large part of laboratory equipment. Although most microfluidic systems have considerably reduced the size of a laboratory, they are still benchtop units, of a size comparable to a desktop computer. In this paper, we argue that achieving true mobility in microfluidics would revolutionize the domain by making laboratory services accessible during traveling or even in daily situations, such as sport and outdoor activities. We review the existing efforts to achieve mobility in microfluidics, and we discuss the conditions mobile biochips need to satisfy. In particular, we show how we adapted an existing biochip for mobile use, and we present the results when using it during a train ride. Based on these results and our systematic discussion, we identify the challenges that need to be overcome at technical, usability and social levels. In analogy to the history of computing, we make some predictions on the future of mobile biochips. In our vision, mobile biochips will disrupt how people interact with a wide range of healthcare processes, including medical testing and synthesis of on-demand medicine. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Frontiers of Microfluidics in Biology)
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Open AccessReview Geometric Effect for Biological Reactors and Biological Fluids
Bioengineering 2018, 5(4), 110; https://doi.org/10.3390/bioengineering5040110
Received: 20 November 2018 / Revised: 7 December 2018 / Accepted: 10 December 2018 / Published: 13 December 2018
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Abstract
As expressed “God made the bulk; the surface was invented by the devil” by W. Pauli, the surface has remarkable properties because broken symmetry in surface alters the material properties. In biological systems, the smallest functional and structural unit, which has a functional [...] Read more.
As expressed “God made the bulk; the surface was invented by the devil” by W. Pauli, the surface has remarkable properties because broken symmetry in surface alters the material properties. In biological systems, the smallest functional and structural unit, which has a functional bulk space enclosed by a thin interface, is a cell. Cells contain inner cytosolic soup in which genetic information stored in DNA can be expressed through transcription (TX) and translation (TL). The exploration of cell-sized confinement has been recently investigated by using micron-scale droplets and microfluidic devices. In the first part of this review article, we describe recent developments of cell-free bioreactors where bacterial TX-TL machinery and DNA are encapsulated in these cell-sized compartments. Since synthetic biology and microfluidics meet toward the bottom-up assembly of cell-free bioreactors, the interplay between cellular geometry and TX-TL advances better control of biological structure and dynamics in vitro system. Furthermore, biological systems that show self-organization in confined space are not limited to a single cell, but are also involved in the collective behavior of motile cells, named active matter. In the second part, we describe recent studies where collectively ordered patterns of active matter, from bacterial suspensions to active cytoskeleton, are self-organized. Since geometry and topology are vital concepts to understand the ordered phase of active matter, a microfluidic device with designed compartments allows one to explore geometric principles behind self-organization across the molecular scale to cellular scale. Finally, we discuss the future perspectives of a microfluidic approach to explore the further understanding of biological systems from geometric and topological aspects. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Frontiers of Microfluidics in Biology)
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