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Microfluidics

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TechCrunch

MIT startup Volta Labs is developing a new instrument that can automate the processes used to prepare genetic samples, reports Emma Betuel for TechCrunch. CEO and co-founder Udayan Umapathi ’17 is confident that with the right programming, the platform could allow “liquids to be manipulated in even more complex ways, like using magnetic fields to draw certain molecules out of samples for further analysis,” writes Betuel.

HealthCare Asia Daily

Singapore-MIT Alliance for Research and Technology (SMART) researchers have developed a new lab-free immune profiling assay that can be used “to better profile aggressive, rapidly changing host immune response in cases of infection, for example COVID-19,” reports HealthCare Asia Daily.

TechCrunch

A sensor developed by MIT researchers could make diagnosing sepsis easier, quicker and more affordable, reports Darrell Etherington for TechCrunch. Etherington explains that the sensor, which “employs microfluidics to detect the presence of key proteins in the blood,” could have “a huge potential impact, as sepsis is one of the leading causes of death in hospitals.”

Forbes

Writing for Forbes, Jeff Kart highlights how MIT researchers have developed a new technique to process samples of bacteria and gauge whether the bacteria can produce electricity. “The vision is to harness the most-powerful bacteria for tasks like running fuel cells or purifying sewage water,” Kart explains.

PBS NewsHour

Prof. Linda Griffith speaks with Hari Sreenivasan of PBS NewsHour about her work developing a new “body on a chip” that could allow researchers to test new drugs on organ tissue. Griffith explains that the device models how different organs and cells communicate in the human body, which is “really important for things like arthritis, Alzheimer's, where you've got multiple organs involved.”

Stat

STAT reporter Kate Sheridan writes about MIT startup SQZ Biotech, which is developing a “technology that will squeeze cells to open up tiny pores in their membranes to deliver gene therapies or medicines straight into the cell.”

The Wall Street Journal

Prof. Linda Griffith speaks with Wall Street Journal reporter Mark Ellwood about her work developing a new device that allows researchers to test how a drug affects the human body. Ellwood notes that the technology that Griffith and her team have created “could prove vital for rapidly releasing new vaccines.”

co.design

Researchers at the Tangible Media Group have developed “programmable droplets” of water that can be used to communicate words. “One potential application is a mirror that, when steamed, allows someone to display a message from a smartphone” writes Jesus Diaz for Co.Design. “The larger idea is to provoke surprise and delight, the way only the natural world can.”

United Press International (UPI)

Researchers have developed a microfluidic platform called “physiome on a chip”, which allows them to determine how certain drugs will affect up to 10 different organs. “Because the animal and human immune systems are different, [drug] testing is difficult in non-human trials,” writes Allen Cone for UPI, “but [this] system could help with that.”

TechCrunch

Prof. Linda Griffith has created a “complex platform where researchers can put up to 10 organ tissues in separate compartments, regulating the flow of substances and medications between them in real time,” to determine how each organ will react, writes Devin Coldewey for TechCrunch.  The scale of this model “represents a huge jump in the capabilities of this kind of system.”

New Scientist

Prof. Linda Griffith has developed ten miniature models of human organs “to create the closest we’ve come yet to a human-on-a-chip,” writes Jessica Hamzelou for New Scientist. “This is still only a minimal representation of a human,” said Griffith, but this kind of system could eventually eliminate the need for animal testing.

co.design

Jesus Diaz of Co.Design explains how MIT scientists have found that Legos can be used more easily to assemble microfluidic laboratories. Historically, doing so "required expensive custom prototyping and manufacturing methods." 

Economist

During The Economist’s weekly podcast, Kenneth Cukier and Paul Markillie discuss how the MIT researchers behind LiquiGlide, a non-stick coating, have developed a way to precisely steer fluid droplets. The new technique could be used in microfluidic devices, in de-icing techniques and to increase the efficiency of condensers. 

Scientific American

Amy Robinson writes for Scientific American on work being done by MIT researchers in the field of microfluidics and its potential applications in neuroscience. Microfluidics technology is being used "to study stages of development and decipher how variance in chemical and physical processes causes neurons to grow or recede,” Robinson writes.

BBC News

BBC News reporter Victoria Gill writes about new MIT research showing that the tiny hairs, or cilia, on corals draw in nutrients by stirring up water. "Corals could provide a general model for understanding ciliary processes related to disease," says MIT Professor Roman Stocker.