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Unit of study_

BMET5963: Microfluidics in Healthcare

This unit will focus on the development of microfluidics lab-on-a-chip devices for biological applications. These are defined as constrained microenvironment where fluids can be manipulated while precisely controlling a series of physical conditions (e.g., temperature, pH, oxygenation, etc.). The unit will initially introduce the basic concept of flow dynamics in laminar conditions, colloidal and interface science necessary to understand the advantages and limitations of a microfluidic approach. Microfluidic fabrications and choice of materials will be discussed in relation to the biocompatibility and sterilisation requirements for the final applications. Finally, a variety of biomedical applications will be discussed. Considering the dynamic nature of this research field and the constant advancement, most examples will be taken from recent publications in order to provide the students with a knowledge of the state-of-the-art. Notable applications of microfluidics to the fundamental advancement of biology (e.g., effect of environmental conditions of cell growth), tissue engineering functions (e.g., the development of organs-on-a-chip, etc.), drug delivery (e.g., high throughput encapsulation of drugs in droplets or microgels, etc.) and healthcare (e.g., cancer models, diseases-on-a-chip, etc.) will be independently discussed.

Code BMET5963
Academic unit Biomedical Engineering
Credit points 6
Assumed knowledge:
Basic fluid dynamics (e.g. AMME2261 or AMME2200), a familiarity with biological concepts (e.g. BMET1961)

At the completion of this unit, you should be able to:

  • LO1. Demonstrate the ability to find relevant literature and learn the current microfluidics state of the art from recent scientific publications.
  • LO2. Understand why the miniaturization of basic laboratory instrumentation and biological applications leads to significant gains in performance.
  • LO3. Describe the structure, operation and performance of the main microfluidic components of a lab-on-chip device.
  • LO4. Understand how the interdisciplinary approach from engineering, chemistry, material science and biology can be combined into microfluidics devices to improve applications to healthcare.
  • LO5. Introduce the main phenomena that determine how fluids behave when confined in small geometries such as microfluidics devices.
  • LO6. Demonstrate how microfluidic tools have been used to address important problems in healthcare and biology.
  • LO7. Use the microfluidic knowledge acquired to design microfluidic tools for specific biological applications.
  • LO8. Demonstrate the ability to work effectively in group.

Unit outlines

Unit outlines will be available 2 weeks before the first day of teaching for the relevant session.

There are no unit outlines available online for previous years.