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µTAS, the Future of Microfluidics, and Cellix

Updated: Aug 28, 2020

Cellix is heading along to µTAS 2018 (booth 340!) in Taiwan, and ahead of this, we've been considering some of the most exciting recent advances in microfluidics.

Microfluidics is the branch of physics and engineering dealing with the behaviour of liquids in the micro-litre range or below, and their subsequent manipulation and control.

We at Cellix have been in a privileged position to see huge developments in the field, and to drive some of these ourselves. We're excited to get back this year to µTAS 2018, this year in Taiwan, and explore the latest advances in the field as well as get an outlook for next year.

From the outset, Cellix has been a company with strong expertise in this area; we launched our company portfolio with our microfluidic pumps, and more recently we've become involved with exciting, cutting edge uses of microfluidic technologies in the brewing industry and the gene editing market.

What are the hot topics in microfluidics now?

Microfluidics has applications in a range of fields, but some of the most interesting work is the translational work being done to allow biologists to access microfluidic technologies.

In an excellent recent review, Scheler et al. characterised the main applications of microfluidic technologies in the biosciences into 3 functional categories: controlled reaction chambers, high-throughput arrays and micro-positioning systems.

These are hugely desirable traits in a potential experiment set-up; the ability to precisely control reagents added to a cell, determine exactly cell locations relative to each other and run huge amounts of experiments in parallel could greatly enhance accuracy and precision of the conclusions being drawn from the experimental results.

Why might microfluidics-based high-throughput platforms be useful?

In particular, the ability to use microfluidics as part of high-throughput arrays has huge implications in many forms of biological research and application.

These not only provide a huge amount of statistical power to an experiment but provide excellent means to spot marginal population changes, rare events, or to screen huge amounts of cells, conditions or drugs.

The ability to gather huge amounts of data in a limited amount of time and space has the potential to utterly transform fields; for evidence, see the transformative effect that the introduction of flow cytometry had on the field of immunology; it completely changed the minimum standard of evidence a researcher would expec