Lab on a Chip

Scientists at the University of Michigan are developing microfluid devices to better develop and test human cells. Their three-dimensional cultures create environments that more closely mimics that of the human body than the traditional flat petri dish. With this research, Professor Shuichi Takayama hopes to reduce the cost of drug development and advance disease treatment by provided miniature environments that mimic parts of the human body.

ABOUT THE PROFESSOR: Shuichi Takayama is a professor of Biomedical Engineering and Macromolecular Science and Engineering at the University of Michigan. His research includes the development of microfluidics and micro/nanotechnology platforms capable of testing cells and subcellular components with combinations of mechanical, chemical, electrical, topographical, and thermal stimuli.

HIV testing in developing nations

University of Michigan scientists are developing a device using nanofabrication that would more effectively analyze a blood sample to test for HIV in the developing world. The device, which uses silicon micro-fabrication, has 10,000 micro-holes that act as craters, allowing the blood cells and platelets to pass through while the large white blood cells are captured and counted.

ABOUT THE SCIENTISTS: The team involved in the project include Associate Professor of Mechanical, Biomedical and Macromolecular Science and Engineering Nikos Chronis, as well as engineering PhD student Anurag Tripathi and Dr. James Riddell, an infectious disease specialist at the U-M Department of Internal Medicine.

Meningitis: Steps to prevent future contamination

U-M researchers discuss how a recent outbreak of fungal meningitis distributed through spinal steroid injections has once again brought to light the difficulty of compounding pharmaceutical companies to maintain quality control over their products. Professors Kotov and Wang explain how a combination of better oversight and easier testing methods could ultimately help prevent issues like this in the future.

ABOUT THE PROFESSOR: Henry Wang is a professor of Chemical Engineering and Biomedical Engineering at the University of Michigan. His research interests include the global healthcare sector, comprised of pharmaceutical, biotechnology, medical device companies, regulatory agencies such as FDA, healthcare providers, insurers and consumers.

Nicholas A. Kotov is the Joseph B. and Florence C. Cejka Professor of Engineering. He is committed to engaging in the “most creative, forward looking, and unorthodox scientific and engineering discoveries.” He runs The Kotov Lab at the University of Michigan.

Stretchable conductors

Polyurethane studded with gold nanoparticles can conduct electricity even when stretched, Michigan engineers have discovered. This feat could pave the way for flexible electronics and gentler medical devices. The nanoparticles start out randomly arranged, but they drift into wire-like formations as the material is stretched.

About the Professor: Nicholas Kotov is the Joseph B. and Florence V. Cejka Professor of Engineering and a professor of chemical engineering, biomedical engineering, materials science and engineering and macromolecular science and engineering at the University of Michigan College of Engineering. His research interests include the 3D self-organization of nanoparticles and cells, and in using these principles to improve technologies and health care.