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PRN2019 - What drove the development of Cellix’s biggest innovations?

Updated: Aug 28, 2020

On the 9th and 10th of May, the Engineering Department of University College Dublin hosted over 60 individuals from around the world, leaders in the field of polymer replication on the nanoscale (PRN).

They were here for PRN 2019, a conference consisting of a collection of talks on the subject, delivered by researchers and members of the industry. There was great energy where participants and speakers alike listened and conversed over novel developments in the field, many of which had been made by those in attendance.

Prof. Dmitry Kashanin, CTO of Cellix, a man with decades of experience in the field of microfluidics, was one of the invited speakers. Before even getting through the door, Dmitry was questioned by an excited individual looking for pointers on his own research. Here Dmitry took on a tone that was to be expressed throughout his upcoming talk. In his advice, he focused on what was realistic and what would actually be used in practice.

Cellix Tech and Industry Application

The talk started with a summary of Cellix’s main areas of innovation and what areas of the industry it is currently applying its tech in. Listeners were surprised to hear that Dmitry had solutions running in the fields of food & beverage, agri-biotech, and health & personalized medicine.

With many wondering how to develop tech with such a wide array of applications, Dmitry’s answer came fast… and it was written on the next slide 5 times

User Requirements! Or more specifically - “Understanding user requirements and needs before engaging in product development to help shape the product idea and specifications.”

“You can’t develop tech and assume that it can be used for everything. In practice, you have to develop tech for a specific application. The situational use can greatly affect the actual end product device you need to create.” - Dmitry Kashanin

The theme of communicating with people who will actually use your technology is recurrent within the lifespan of Cellix. The inspiration to create biochips was spawned out of a collaboration with Prof. Yuri Volkov and Prof. Dermot Kelleher in the Department of Clinical Medicine of Trinity College Dublin. Yuri’s group was interested in looking at cells in dynamic conditions rather than static, wanting to replicate the conditions of capillary blood vessels.

Several more lab groups were then partnered with to beta test the development of Cellix’s first biochip. This partnering helped elucidate more requirements before any product was actually developed for sale. Together with the groups, Cellix uncovered some key characteristics the chip required:

  • Disposability

  • Bio-compatible plastic

  • Optical clarity

  • 10-200μm channel dimensions

  • An array of straight channels

  • Easy to connect to macro components

From this, the Vena8 biochip was born and it has proven to be a success over time.