Advertisement

Teaching Microfluidic Diagnostics Using Jell-O® Chips

  • Cheng Wei T. Yang
  • Eric T. LagallyEmail author
Protocol
Part of the Methods in Molecular Biology book series (MIMB, volume 949)

Abstract

Microfluidics has emerged as a versatile technology that has found many applications, including DNA chips, fuel cells, and diagnostics. As the field of microfluidic diagnostics grows, it is important to introduce the principles of this technology to young students and the general public. The objective of this project was to create a simple and effective method that could be used to teach key microfluidics concepts using easily accessible materials. Similar to the poly(dimethylsiloxane) soft lithography technique, a Jell-O® “chip” is produced by pouring a mixture of Jell-O® and gelatine solution into a mold, which is constructed using foam plate, coffee stirrers, and double-sided tape. The plate is transferred to a 4°C refrigerator for curing, and then the Jell-O® chip is peeled off for experimental demonstrations. Three types of chips have been fabricated with different molds: a JELLO mold, a Y-channel mold, and a pH-sensor mold. Using these devices, the basics of microfluidic diagnostics can be demonstrated in one or two class periods. The method described in this chapter provides teachers with a fast and inexpensive way to introduce this technology, and students with a fun and hands-on way to understand the basics of microfluidic diagnostics.

Key words

Microfluidics Microfluidic diagnostics Lab-on-a-chip Microfluidics education Teaching methods Jell-O microfluidics 

Notes

Acknowledgment

Jake Abbot and Cameron Lawson, two Grade-10 high school students from Prince of Wales Mini School in Vancouver (working through a mentorship program at the Michael Smith Laboratories), helped with developing the initial protocol and testing the first Jell-O® chips. An undergraduate student working in our laboratory, Adrian Lee, created new experiments based on their techniques. The authors would like to thank Drs. David Ng and Joanne Fox for the initial idea and the 2009 UBC iGEM Team and Lagally lab members for their technical support. Financial support of this work by the Michael Smith Laboratories’ start-up funding to ETL is gratefully acknowledged.

References

  1. 1.
    Whitesides GM (2006) The origins and the future of microfluidics. Nature 442:368–373CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Paguirigan AL, Beebe DJ (2008) Microfluidics meet cell biology: bridging the gap by validation and application of microscale techniques for cell biological assays. Bioessays 30:811–821CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Liu C (2007) Recent developments in polymer MEMS. Adv Mater 19:3783–3790CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    McDonald JC, Duffy DC, Anderson JR, Chiu DT, Wu H, Schueller OJA, Whitesides GM (2000) Fabrication of microfluidic systems in poly(dimethylsiloxane). Electrophoresis 21:27–40CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Li X, Tian J, Nguyen T, Shen W (2008) Paper-based microfluidic devices by plasma treatment. Anal Chem 80:9131–9134CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Li X, Tian J, Shen W (2009) Thread as a versatile material for low-cost microfluidic diagnostics. ACS Appl Mater Interfaces 2:1–6CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Martinez AW, Phillips ST, Whitesides GM, Carrilho E (2010) Diagnostics for the developing world: microfluidic paper-based analytical devices. Anal Chem 82:3–10CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Yang CWT, Ouellet E, Lagally ET. Using inexpensive Jell-O chips for hands-on microfluidics education. Anal Chem. 82:5408–5414Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Kamholz AE, Weigl BH, Finlayson BA, Yager P (1999) Quantitative analysis of molecular interaction in a microfluidic channel: the T-sensor. Anal Chem 71:5340–5347CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Kamholz AE, Schilling EA, Yager P (2001) Optical measurement of transverse molecular diffusion in a microchannel. Biophys J 80:1967–1972CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Choban ER, Markoski LJ, Wieckowski A, Kenis PJA (2004) Microfluidic fuel cell based on laminar flow. J Power Sources 128:54–60CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Kjeang E, Djilali N, Sinton D (2009) Microfluidic fuel cells: a review. J Power Sources 186:353–369CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Phirani J, Basu S (2008) Analyses of fuel utilization in microfluidic fuel cell. J Power Sources 175:261–265CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Kerschgens J, Egener-Kuhn T, Mermod N (2009) Protein-binding microarrays: probing disease markers at the interface of proteomics and genomics. Trends Mol Med 15:352–358CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Phillips K, Cheng Q (2007) Recent advances in surface plasmon resonance based techniques for bioanalysis. Anal Bioanal Chem 387:1831–1840CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Squires T, Quake, S (2005) Microfluidics: fluid physics at the nanoliter scale. Reviews of Modern Physics 77Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    Beebe DJ, Mensing GA, Walker GM (2002) Physics and applications of microfluidics in biology. Annu Rev Biomed Eng 4:261–286CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Inglesby MK, Zeronian SH (2001) Diffusion coefficients for direct dyes in aqueous and polar aprotic solvents by the NMR pulsed-field gradient technique. Dyes Pigments 50:3–11CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media,LLC 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Michael Smith Laboratories & Department of Chemical and Biological EngineeringUniversity of British ColumbiaVancouverCanada
  2. 2.Michael Smith LaboratoriesUniversity of British ColumbiaVancouverCanada
  3. 3.Department of Chemical and Biological EngineeringUniversity of British ColumbiaVancouverCanada

Personalised recommendations