November 2019: Sanaz Habibi received her Ph.D. this year from Michigan Tech and has joined the Burns Lab as a post-doctoral researcher. Welcome, Sanaz!
May 2019: Congratulations to Anna, who passed her Doctoral Candidacy Exam!
The field of microfluidics is uniquely poised to make a broad impact in the biomedical sciences through the miniaturization and massive parallelization of biological assays and experimentation. For example, future advances in microfluidics could revolutionize disease diagnosis, drug discovery, and pathogen detection. In our work, we focus on components and integrated systems that can be used in health-related biochemical analysis. Construction of such systems is currently relatively easy; there are a large number of published “lab on a chip” systems constructed from a variety of substrates using different actuation, sensing, and control components. However, there are still relatively few microfluidic diagnostic systems commercially available. Although there are many reasons, possible explanations for this scarcity include the complex interconnect and packaging requirements of many pneumatically actuated analysis chips. Also, while the device itself may be relatively inexpensive, the external optical and electronic components that are necessary to run many complex microfluidic devices negate any economic advantage. Our group strives to alleviate these problems by developing innovative solutions to these and other problems.