It’s the ‘lab-on-a-chip’ model

first_imgWith little more than a conventional photocopier and transparency film, anyone can build a functional microfluidic chip.A local Cambridge high school physics teacher invented the process; now, thanks to a new undergraduate teaching lab at Harvard’s School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS), students will be able to explore microfluidics and its applications.The Microfluidics Lab, developed by Anas Chalah, director of instructional technology at SEAS, takes advantage of a simple but ingenious new method of creating lab-on-a-chip devices that are quick to produce, affordable, and reusable. (Microfluidic devices are used to study liquids at the microliter scale — such as a few drops of blood from a patient — while taking advantage of some fluid behaviors that take place only at the micro-scale.)Chalah is excited — contagiously so — about the lab’s potential to serve students from all areas of science and engineering.“Harvard University shaped the emergence of the field of microfluidics and soft lithography through the leading research conducted in the labs of George Whitesides and David Weitz, among others,” he says. “Now we are bringing those areas of experimentation to the undergraduate teaching labs at SEAS.”The first course to use the lab will be the mechanical engineering course ES 123, “Introduction to Fluid Mechanics and Transport Processes.” Students enrolled in the course this spring will use sophisticated COMSOL Multiphysics software to model the flow of liquid through chips of varying structure in order to design and build optimal chips in the lab. The COMSOL software is widely used for design projects in both academic research and industry.ES 123 is structured to emphasize the importance of the design process.“Students do the simulation, go through the homework, and get exposed to the process before they even get in the lab,” says Chalah.Chalah points out that the new lab will provide a core facility for multiple areas of undergraduate study. “We can get people from different disciplines excited about the same device,” he says.For example, the do-it-yourself opportunity will also appeal to budding biomedical engineers and premedical students, who can use the lab-on-a-chip devices to study and test clinical applications.Chalah is particularly interested in a device called a concentration gradient generator, which allows two or more fluids to mix in a very controlled manner, producing a range of concentrations from 0 to 100 percent.A variation of the device is used in drug testing, as it can be used to deliver a range of very precise drug concentrations to a set of experimental cell lines. With multiple cell lines built into one chip, as many as 80 tiny experiments can be performed at once, all under the same controlled conditions. Chalah expects that bioengineering lab courses at SEAS will soon be developed that incorporate this technology.The technology used in the lab is not new, but a process that makes it affordable certainly is.Commercially available microfluidic devices are produced in a clean room using high-resolution photolithography and etching, a process which pushes the retail price to around $500 each.Local high school physics teacher Joe Childs had a better idea: Design the layout of the channels in PowerPoint, print the image, and photocopy it onto a classroom-style transparency film several times until the layers of ink create raised ridges. The process results in a negative mold that can then be used to create channels in the polymer chip.It sounds rudimentary, but it works.Childs, who teaches at the nearby Cambridge Rindge & Latin School, collaborates with faculty and students at SEAS through the Research Experiences for Teachers (RET) program funded by the National Science Foundation‘s National Nanotechnology Infrastructure Network.He first developed the process in the lab of Bob M. Westervelt, Mallinckrodt Professor of Applied Physics at SEAS and professor of physics, with graduate student Keith Brown. He is now perfecting it with Chalah and an enthusiastic team of young interns for the undergraduate teaching labs.Together, they can design and build a chip in a single afternoon, and, Childs adds, “the most expensive thing that we need is a copy machine.”The resulting chips are not as precise as the commercially available versions, but the benefit — besides the low cost — is that students will be able to experience the process of designing and building the devices themselves, applying their knowledge of the fundamental principles of fluid dynamics to create a functional tool.The simplified process will allow other science teachers to introduce their students to an aspect of physics that might previously have been off-limits due to cost.“Believe me,” says Chalah, “if people knew we could build a chip so cheaply, they would jump on it like this.”The creation of the new Microfluidics Lab, on the ground floor of Pierce Hall, was enabled by a generous donation from Warren Wilkinson ’41. The lab features state-of-the-art microfluidic pumps, microscopes, ovens, and soft lithography and fabrication equipment.A student in the new Microfluidics Lab peels back the polymer, showing engraved channels from an ink-transparency template.last_img read more

Galvin speaks on leadership and management

first_imgThroughout her professional experience in academia, industry and government, Mary Galvin, dean of the College of Science, said she realized each sector confused leadership and management. Galvin spoke on this confusion in a lecture Tuesday night that was a part of the inaugural Living Legends of Engineering Leadership Lecture Series.Galvin said leadership and management are fundamentally different because management is goal-oriented organization.“I see management as being in a position where you’re putting together a team of people, optimizing their skills to accomplish a task, and your job is to assemble and direct the team,” she said.Leadership, on the other hand, stems from a trusting relationship, Galvin said.“A commander commands their power, a leader receives it, and to me that’s the real difference,” Galvin said. “If you are a leader, truly leading people, your power is coming from them. … As a leader you have to have followers, and [your power] is not coming just from your authority over them — that’s command, many times it can be management — but to really be a leader, its something thats given to you by the people you’re leading.”Galvin said she wanted to make clear that being a leader is not the same as being a good person, though there are good leaders. A good leader, Galvin said, comes from within because they are rooted in who they are and what they believe in, they have the trust a respect of their followers, and they have vision and passion.Galvin said she learned the importance of having deeply rooted values from an experience she had while working at Bell Laboratories. Galvin said she took nine months off work while she was pregnant and after giving birth to her son. Her colleagues, Galvin said, said they respected her decision, but that a decision like that ended a woman’s career — they wanted her to leave. Galvin said she decided that was not an option.“I didn’t give up, and I stayed in,” Galvin said. “I published some great work that year, and they decided that I didn’t need to leave. I became a distinguished member. But as I went through that time, I realized … I had to understand why I was doing it and what I thought would be a successful life. And in deciding that, I became very rooted in doing things because I wanted to because I thought they were right, because they met my values.”Galvin said an important question to ask of yourself, as a leader or a manager, is, What is best, not for myself, but for the organization? Galvin said you need to be able to answer that question and ultimately, be able to stand behind the answer.Tags: College of Science, Living Legends of Engineering Leadership Lecture Series, mary galvinlast_img read more

Police lock up 171 people for violating curfew during PSBB in Greater Surabaya

first_imgHe said security personnel would conduct patrols in the three regions on a daily basis until the end of the PSBB period. Luki said security personnel at dozens of checkpoints had so far issued formal warnings to 5,496 individuals who broke the PSBB rules in Surabaya, Gresik and Sidoarjo, such as failing to wear a face mask or violating the limitations on vehicle passengers. East Java Governor Khofifah Indar Parawansa also called on the public to obey the PSBB regulations, saying Surabaya had been severely hit by the virus with the number of confirmed cases continuing to increase.”Surabaya has twice the number of confirmed cases of Bandung. This is a concerning situation,” she said. Surabaya has confirmed 554 cases of COVID-19 with 71 fatalities as of Sunday, while Sidoarjo recorded 119 cases with 13 fatalities and Gresik 32 cases with 5 fatalities. The number of confirmed cases in Surabaya accounted for half of East Java’s tally of 1,114 confirmed cases, and for almost two-thirds of the provinces 111 fatalities, the highest number of cases in the country after the capital city Jakarta.Topics : One hundred seventy-one people had to spend the night at police stations after they were apprehended for violating a night curfew during the implementation of large-scale social restrictions (PSBB) in raids in Greater Surabaya, East Java, over the weekend.In an operation carried out from Saturday evening to dawn on Sunday, security personnel raided cafes and coffee stalls in several places in Surabaya and arrested 85 people found hanging out.Greater Surabaya, which comprises of Surabaya city and its satellite regencies Sidoarjo and Gresik, imposed the PSBB on April 28, with local authorities also setting curfews to restrict public activities from 9 p.m. to 4 a.m. in a bid to curb the spread of COVID-19 in the three areas. “We detained them for 24 hours and we took their blood samples for COVID-19 rapid testing. Those whose rapid tests come back reactive will be quarantined for 14 days,” Surabaya Police chief Sr. Comr. Sandi Nugroho told reporters on Sunday.He said police had also recorded the identities of the violators in anticipation of any of them breaking the rules again in the future during the PSBB. If they were found to repeat the offense, the authorities would charge them with violating Article 216 of the Criminal Code, Article 93 of the Health Quarantine Law and the Surabaya mayoral decree on the PSBB, which could result in one year of imprisonment.Read also: Sampoerna factory closes after two COVID-19 deaths, authorities race to trace contactsEast Java Police chief Insp. Gen. Luki Hermawan said a joint force of police, military and Public Order Agency (Satpol PP) personnel conducted similar raids in Sidoarjo and Gresik and arrested another 89 people. last_img read more