Microfluidic Application: Cell Culture
Cell culture studies based on Microfluidics are said to provide a valuable complement to in vivo experiments, because it allows a more controlled manipulation of cellular functions and processes.
Even if obtaining a pure population of primary cells can be a difficult and hard process, it gives many advantages to work with it, such as;
1. Flexibility when designing the device, it gives the opportunity to adapt to the client’s needs.
2. It gives experimental flexibility & control, which means that is possible to control and make different experiments while creating.
3. Moreover, a low number of cells are needed, because microfluidic cell culture devices reduce the cell population to a few hundred cell, or sometimes, even to individual cells. This increases the spatial and temporal resolution for the experiment.
4. Single cell handling and Real-time on chip analysis: This point is related to the previous, one, because microfluidic cell culture includes the ability to more closely mimic a cell’s natural microenvironment, working directly on chip , and moreover, working in real time.
5. Microfluidic cell culture devices also make it possible and reliable to study complex cellular behaviour, such as the relationship between single cell movements and collective cell migration.
6. Related to the real time on chip analysis, this system gives the opportunity and advantages of precise control of experimental conditions.
7. Moreover, microfluidic cell culture is able to incorporate analytical biosensors into the culture platform.
Microfluidics Application: Cell Culture
CELL CULTURE : As known, a single cell is what builds the human life, and the genetic material of all those cells in the human body hold the secret to inherited diseases, such as cystic fibrosis, Alzheimer or other complex diseases.
Taking this into account, Cell cultures and DNA can be established from blood or small fragments of tissue (biopsies).
In its simplest form of cell culture, it involves the dispersal of cells in an artificial environment composed of nutrient solutions, a suitable surface to support the growth of cells, and ideal conditions of temperature, humidity, and gaseous atmosphere. These systems are needed for aa researcher to measure the response of the cell’s alterations in culture, prospective drugs, the presence or absence of other kind of cells and viruses precisely.
Cell culture, what for?
The mass culture of animal cell lines is fundamental to the manufacture of viral vaccines and many biotechnology products. And the use of cell culture has clear advantages, such us:
Microfluidic Application in the Neuro field
An innovative project with Hospital de Valdecilla(IDIVAL), together with microLIQUID and CSIC reaches the centre of the technology talent, the MIT in Boston.
A project lead by the Head of Clinical Neurophysiology and the attending physician of Intensive Care Medicine of HUMV and IDIVAL, has been one of the 15 international teams selected by MIT #Idea2Global program, developed by the prestigious Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Boston (USA). The project has been developed in close collaboration with Instituto Cajal and Microliquid.
The selected teams have won 6 months of training and mentoring of their innovation projects with professors at MIT and other world-class institutions. The program will provide intensive training in innovation methods, development of collaborative projects and specific mentoring team. Moreover, it will provide the experience to help the projects to change from being a new idea to work in the real life.
WHICH IS THE PROJECT?
The idea of the project of great level of technology comes out from Valdecilla, and through the “Foundation for Innovation and Foresight in Health in Spain” (Fipse), which is a non-profit private entity on health research with the Ministry of health and pharmaceutical companies coverage, has gone to the Technology institute in Massachusetts (MIT) in Boston.
The aim of it is to prevent the supervening brain damage while a patient is in coma. And the way to achieve it is the creation of an innovative electrode capable of detecting phenomena which cause the death of neurons that exacerbate the initial injury.
More information at EL DIARIO MONTAÑES
Microfluidic Event in Spain
Microliquid has attended the “8th International meeting in Biotechnology “ from the 28th to the 30th of September, held in BEC (Bilbao). It is important to say that more than 850 companies went to the meeting and almost the 34% of the attending companies where international, coming from 28 different countries. Moreover, during these 3 days, there have been more than 3.300 meeting or partnerings, with more than 2.000 people of different companies taking part.
Biospain is a biennial event organized by ASEBIO, the Spanish association of Biotechnology Companies, in collaboration with other organizations, in this case, the Basque Business Development Agency. Due to the increasing international rivalry, this meeting is important for companies working in the Biotechnology field, in order to expand what they do and learn from other companies. BioSpain 2016 has had also a greater presence of USA companies and organizations, being USA the guest country in this eighth edition. People form the states of Maryland, Massachusetts, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia and Puerto Rico have attended the meeting. Moreover, this year the participation of national companies has raised, more specifically Galicia, Basque Country, Cataluña, Valencia or Baleares. Some of the topics discussed at BioSpain 2016 are oncology, Alzheimer, food, vaccine or new diagnostic methods.
Two of the members of our company have been in the meeting during the three days, trying to know more about other companies working in the same field of us, and moreover, letting them know what Microliquid does. Apart from having a stand to show what we do, Microliquid has been attending the Partnering area, where it was possible to talk to other companies, try to explain how our company works, listen to what they do, and sometimes, open new ways to work together, as a team, or helping each other.
Moreover, Microliquid makes a positive assessment of the fair, taking into account that a lot of people have attended our stand, new companies know about us, and we have been able to make new alliances with other companies.
To finish with, Ion Arocena, the director of the Spanish Association of Biotechnology Companies (Asebio), says that “We think that BioSpain 2016 has been a good representation of the sector worldwide” , and he makes a positive evaluation of those three days.
Microfluidics Application: Biomarker for Detection through Microfluidic Chips
Biomarkers are the physiological,biochemical or morphological changes that occur as a result of exposure,generally, to a toxic substance. The Biomarkers are only the measures/responses at molecular and cellular level because it is the perfect situation to study the cause-effect relationships and mechanisms of action of these substances.
It is important to understand their mechanisms of action to develop medical or detection devices. Other features that allow its use is the reproducibility, sensitivity, specificity and especially they present a very fast response time for detection, among other things.
Due to these features it is an instrument widely used both in the environmental field and in the health industry.
It is essential that the biomarker response time is short , so that it can be used as “early warning system” and if also shows a diagnostic value, it can then be used predictively.
We can distinguish two types of biomarkers, biomarkers that indicate exposure and those that indicate damage from exposure.
Microfluidics Manufacturing: DRIE Process (Deep reactive ion etching)
The DRIE – Deep reactive ion etching: In this attack , a highly anisotropic(focus on one direction) etching, we can define the desired structures on silicon with the heights defined before. It is a used to create also through holes and estructures in wafers / substrates, with typically high aspect ratio.
The definition obtained with this attack over the Silicon is very good. We use the Bosch process to do it.
First we passivate with metals the wafer parts you want to keep and then do the attach with the ion plasma which removes the silicon from the non passivated parts.
To do the DRIE process , we use a special machine you can see in the photo below.
Microfluidics Manufacturing: Anodic Bonding
The Bonder enables Anodic Bonding (Sealing) between a Silicon wafer and a Crystal Wafer. This seal is used primarily for connecting silicon / glass and metal / glass through electric fields.
The requirements for anodic bonding are cleaned surfaces availability on both wafers and the atomic contact between the binding substrates through an electrostatic field should be strong enough
Microfluidics in the Catalogue
MicroLIQUID integrated in the new BIOBASQUE Catalog, where all the information of the biotech companies of the Basque Region is available.
Here you can get the full information about the companies:
The BASQUE BIOCLUSTER is a non-profit association constituted in 2010, and represents the idea of enhancing the biosciences sector in the Basque Country. The coordination, the collaboration with all the stakeholders in the sphere of biosciences, promoting business cooperation is the basis for the competitive development of its companies and their internationalisation, and is greatly contributing to the development and positioning of the Basque bio sector.
Today the Basque Biocluster has 30 partner businesses, 58 including their subsidiaries, which in 2014 had a turnover of €268 million, 78.7% (€211 million) of which came from the export of their products and services to international markets. As a whole, the companies in the association contribute to the maintenance of 1,632 jobs.
Industry based on biosciences is characterised by the close relationship between research, innovation and competitiveness, and largely rests on the appearance of a new type of companies whose objective is to exploit advanced technologies related to the sciences of life, in order to respond to myriad needs in various industrial spheres.
In today’s catalog, more than 80 entities are dedicated to biotechnology research, of which 51 had biotechnology as their main or exclusive activity, assigning more than half of their internal expenses to biotechnology R&D. Of these 80 entities, 70 are biotechnology companies.
The bio sector employs 1,183 people full time, or in other words, 6.4% of total R&D personnel in the Basque Country, with the outstanding presence of women, who represent more than 60% of all people working full time in biotechnology.
Research personnel, for their part, stand at 903 people, 76% of the total.
Microfluidics Application: Point of Care Devices
Our aim is to provide portable diagnostic tools to ensure rapid, affordable and simple analysis in many scenarios of our society (hospitals, airports, doctor’s practice, roadside police controls, natural environment etc).
However, conventional analytical methods often require a large volume of sample and complicated time-consuming protocols.
The more portable ones are based on slow immunochromatographic strips or low-sensitivity electrochemical detection systems, whereas desktop systems are sensitive and semi-automatic but bulky and heavy.
microLIQUID tries to improve quality of life and medical services through the development of quick diagnostic devices that will carry out sample preparation and detection reducing the incidence of current society threats.
Our idea is to create intelligent and portable systems across many sectors for efficient treatment(environment monitoring, health, food , veterinary), by integrating cost-efficiently manufactured Lab-on-a-Chips.
Microfluidics Manufacturing: Micromilling
Micromilling in Microfluidics:Using small cutting tools to create microfluidic architectures.
It is a mechanical method, in which we use small cutting tools to remove the materials from a specific part of the microfluidic architecture.
All thermoplastics can be subjected to micromilling and can be used only on hardened materials. The structure resolution depends on the tool dimension; it can go down to 25μm.
PDMS structure cannot be obtained directly by this method. The replica of the design can be machined and the mould(are reusable) can be casted in order to get PDMS devices.
Technique: A computer is used to control the position of the tool and the cutting of the structures.The milling time,depends on the milling structure, and can vary from minutes to hours .
The advantage of this technique is that it does not affect the polymeric material by UV radiation or heating, but it creates stress near the cut structures that can be avoided by heating and slow cooling.