Upcoming conference: BioMEMS 2013 April 16-18 in Cleveland


Just a quick post to let people know about the upcoming BioMEMS conference in Cleveland this April 16-18.  This is an industry conference and covers a range of interesting topics including wearable electronics, neural interfaces, clinical diagnostics, and more.  Check it out!

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Book Chapter in Microfluidic Diagnostics Methods and Protocols

Happy to announce the publication of Gareth Jenkins and Colin Mansfield’s new book, Microfluidic Diagnostics: Methods and Protocols is now available!  I contributed Chapter 5 “Overview of the Microfluidic Diagnostics Commercial Landscape” and it was a fun project to consider what information on commercialization might be useful in a book like this.  As the Springer website notes, this book goes beyond methods and protocols, with a bigger pictures of helping scientists further develop technologies toward commercialization.  From the Springer website:

Microfluidic techniques are becoming widely incorporated into medical diagnostic systems due to the inherent advantages of miniaturization. In Microfluidic Diagnostics: Methods in Molecular Biology, researchers in the field detail methods and protocols covering subjects such as microfluidic device fabrication, on-chip sample preparation, diagnostic applications and detection methodologies. The protocols described range from cutting-edge developments to established techniques and basic demonstrations suitable for education and training; from basic fabrication methods to commercializing research.

Section 1: Microfluidic Diagnostics: From the Classroom to the Boardroom

  1. Present Technology and Future Trends in Point of Care Microfluidic Diagnostics (Lawrence Kulinsky, Zahra Noroozi, and Marc Madou)
  2. Teaching Microfluidic Diagnostics Using Jell-O Chips (Cheng Wei T. Yang and Eric T. Lagally)
  3. Fundamentals of Microfluidics for High School Students with No Prior Knowledge of Mechanics (Vishal Tandon and Walter Peck)
  4. Measuring Microchannel Electroosmotic Mobility and Zeta Potential by the Current Monitoring Method (Chenren Shao and Don L. DeVoe)
  5. Overview of the Microfluidic Diagnostics Commercial Landscape (L. Kim)
  6. Practical Aspects of the Preparation and Filing of Patent Applications (Fiona Bessoth)
  7. Introduction to In Vitro Diagnostic Device Regulatory Requirements (Jonathan Day)

Thanks, Gareth and Colin, for the opportunity to be part of this project!

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$175K Technology Innovation Grant in Biomedical, MEMS and Nanotechnology

Researchers, engineers, and entrepreneurs — this is for you!  The Sustainable Valley Technology Group and Rogue Valley Microdevices have teamed up to offer a technology innovation grant aimed at biomedical devices, nanotechnology, and MEMS.  It’s a cool idea, where the goal is to foster economic development in Southern Oregon (projects must be commercialization-focused).  The grant is for $175K and the deadline to apply is April 20th 2013.  For more info see below and click here to apply.

The Technology Innovation Grant provides funding, business support, equipment, facilities and expert consultation to researchers developing technology related to the microelectronics, biomedical device, nanotechnology and MEMs fields.

What is the iGrant?

Designed to help researchers with brilliant ideas see those ideas through to a finished product, the 2013 Sustainable Valley iGrant is a technology innovation grant to help researchers, entrepreneurs and engineers bring new technology or technology-based businesses to life. iGrant applications are open to researchers, engineers and entrepreneurs in the process of building technology start-up companies or designing new technology associated with the biomedical, MEMS and Nano Technology fields.


Sustainable Valley Technology Group has the Mission to Foster Technology and Business Growth. Bringing new technology to market is difficult to say the least and the vision for the iGrant is to help individuals with brilliant ideas see those ideas through to completion by providing funding, business support, equipment, facilities and expert consultation.

New technology must be geared towards commercialization and teams must have at least 2 members.


This technology grant will provide more than just monetary support, it will provide:

1. Expert Business Support and Development Services. iGrant recipients will be provided with professional technical and business support including engineering, business development, device design support and consultation.

2. Professional Business Mentoring. iGrant recipients will also receive expert mentoring and guidance in legal, financial and investment areas.

3. Full Access to Professional Business and Cutting Edge Lab Environments. iGrant recipients will have access to office and conference space as well as access to cutting edge fabrication equipment, metrology equipment, state-of-the-art clean room, and manufacturing materials, as well as chemicals and other common gases at the Rogue Valley Microdevices lab facility.

4. Additional Technology and Start-up Benefits. iGrant recipients will have access to seminars, workshops and other business growth and development events. Part of the $175K iGrant is a $25K cash award to help the recipient’s implementation costs. iGrant recipients will also have access to student interns and helpful business school teams.

To Apply for the iGrant Please Visit: http://www.svtg.org/igrant-technology-grant/


  • Technology-based Start-ups
  • Researchers with a team of at least two individuals
  • Entrepreneurs with a team of at least two individuals
  • Compelling technology teams
  • University spin outs

Teams should be developing technology related to the fields of:

  • semiconductor devices
  • microelectronics
  • biomedical devices
  • nanotechnology
  • wafer fabrication
  • MEMS technology


The Deadline to Apply for the iGrant Technology Grant is April 20th, 2013

  • You have your team
  • You have your idea
  • You’re ready to jump start your project?

We understand you may need some time to get your information in order. By registering we can reserve your entry while you work on the details of the application. We will provide a downloadable application with complete entry information upon registration.

Five finalists will be chosen and the winning recipient will be announced on April 30th, 2013.

To Register for the iGrant Please Visit: http://www.svtg.org/igrant-technologygrant/

For Questions Regarding the iGrant or Applying for the iGrant Please Contact:

Sustainable Valley Technology Group
Dennis Leidall


Rogue Valley Microdevices, Inc.
Jessica Gomez

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FluidicMEMS Event November 5 2012: Jose Gomez-Marquez from Little Devices @ MIT

And on the heels of our October event, on November 5th we hosted another FluidicMEMS gathering featuring Jose Gomez-Marquez of MIT’s Little Devices group talking about using microfluidics for low-cost medical devices/diagnostics for the developing world.  We are grateful to sponsor Trianja Technologies which specializes in manufacture of glass microstructures and to Microsoft New England Research and Development Center for generously hosting us.  And as always, we were excited to see a terrific mix of ~70 people from universities, startups, and research organizations mingling, connecting, and exchanging ideas!

Jose Gomez-Marquez’s group takes a different approach to microfluidic device design.  Often the medical devices that we design for the G7 go unused in developing countries because they are a poor fit for the needs of those environments.  What if we instead provided a medical toolkit that allowed doctors and nurses in developing countries to build what they need?  This is the idea behind the MEDIkit platform which includes microfluidic components.  Jose also spoke about a host of other fascinating global health efforts at Little Devices — check them out here!

Jose Gomez-Marquez of MIT’s Little Devices group

FluidicMEMS organizer A.J. Kumar of the Whitesides group at Harvard introduces our speaker.

MIT student Melinda Hale and colleagues.

For more check out the Little Devices blog here.


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FluidicMEMS Event October 1 2012: Davide Marini of Firefly Bioworks + Michael Weingarten of NCI SBIR

We started off the 2012-2013 FluidicMEMS event series with a bang by gathering ~70 folks from the academic and industry lab-on-a-chip/BioMEMS space to hear from Davide Marini, CEO and co-founder of Firefly Bioworks and Michael Weingarten, Director of the National Cancer Institute’s SBIR and STTR programs.  Tremendous thanks to sponsors Dolomite Microfluidics, Replikins, and Oncolab and a shout-out to Kaytlyn Racz and the team at Microsoft’s New England Research and Development Center for generously hosting us!

First we heard from Michael Weingarten about the National Cancer Institute’s SBIR programs. (Link to Michael’s presentation: 2012-10-01 NCI SBIR presentation to FLUIDICMEMS) If you’re thinking about starting a company related to cancer technologies, definitely check them out.  In particular, there are two SBIR contract topics focused specifically on microfluidic technologies for cancer (The deadline for receipt of all FY2013 contract topic proposals has been extended from Nov 13 to Monday, December 3, 2012 by 5 p.m. EST). 

Michael Weingarten speaks about the NCI SBIR/STTR programs

Next we heard from Davide Marini about the nuts and bolts of how SBIR funding has been used by his startup, Firefly Bioworks, to fuel development and enable them to raise additional funds from other sources to successfully reach product launch.  Unlike many of the companies featured at FluidicMEMS, Firefly Bioworks uses microfluidics as a manufacturing technology (vs. as a product itself).  Firefly has an interesting Optical Liquid Stamping technology that uses a microfluidic + photolithographic process to manufacture barcoded hydrogel particles.  Laminar streams of photopolymerizable fluids containing molecules of interest flow through microfluidic channels and when exposed to light through a mask, form hydrogel microparticles with precise shapes and content.  Because of the flexibility of the technology they can create a huge range of different types of customized particles with many potential applications from mRNA profiling to anti-counterfeiting measures.  Fascinating to see what applications they pursue next!

Davide Marini of Firefly Bioworks

If you’re interested in participating in events like this, please contact us (click tab above).


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Experimental Physicist/Engineer — Cardiff, UK

Experimental Physicist/Engineer

Our Client is a Biotechnology company that is developing high throughput quantitative biochemical assays for the pharmaceutical industry.

The challenge for the holder of the Experimental Physicist/Engineer position will be the planning and assembly of a computer-controlled micro-fluidics device integrated with optical instrumentation to perform time-resolved fluorescence resonant energy transfer (TR-FRET) in total internal reflection (TIR) geometry on a multiplexed chip array. Key tasks for this post will be the the micro-fluidics set-up assembly and the hardware software-interfacing of the micro-fluidics device integrated with the acquisition of TR-FRET measurements.

The post will require a dynamic flexible approach and the ability to interact with Biologists / Biochemists, and Chemists. The Experimental Physicist/Engineer will be responsible for the delivery a series of technical goals with tight deadlines.

Main Function of Post: To carry out experimental work for the development of a computer-controlled automated instrument performing high-throughput time-resolved fluorescence resonant energy transfer (TR-FRET) measurements in total internal reflection (TIR) geometry on a multiplexed chip array integrated into a micro-fluidics device.

Job Description:

  • Planning and assembly of a computer-controlled micro-fluidics device.
  • To contribute to the planning and assembly of an optical set-up for TR-FRET in TIR geometry.
  • Hardware-software interfacing for automated computer-controlled measurements and data acquisition.

Essential Criteria  


  • Excellent knowledge of micro-fluidics
  • Excellent knowledge of electronics
  • Excellent knowledge of computer programming
  • Good knowledge of optics
  • Excellent expertise and competence of operating principles and performances of micro-fluidics-related instrumentation
  • Excellent practical skills with micro-fluidics instrumentation
  • Excellent practical skills with electronics
  • Excellent practical skills with programming for hardware interfacing
  • Excellent practical skills with software for quantitative data analysis.
  • Good practical skills with optical microscopy instrumentation
  • Excellent organisational skills with a proven ability to prioritise and meet deadlines within the framework of an agreed programme.
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills

Qualifications (IT/Academic/Vocational)

  • A PhD in Engineering or Physics or other relevant equivalent research experience.


  • A demonstrable history of practical laboratory work developing micro-fluidics-related instrumentation
  • A demonstrable history of hardware-software interfacing

Specific Qualities (eg attitudes)

  • Ambitious and committed to scientific excellence
  • Committed to precision, accuracy and task completion.
  • Self-motivated and able to work with limited supervision.
  • Flexible, responsible approach to working in a multi-tasking and multi-disciplinary environment.

Desirable Criteria

  • Experience with micro-fluidic devices for optical microscopy
  • Knowledge of biochemistry techniques

Please contact: Ian Ashforth <ian.ashforth@completeresourcing.com>

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List of microfluidics companies — What’s New Sept 2012

I’m constantly updating the FluidicMEMS List of Microfluidics Companies.  Since these additions are made gradually, I wanted to get a snapshot of how the list has changed since last year.  Since July 2011, over 20 companies have been added to the list (Note that these are not all new companies, but newly added.):

Aixtekaixtek.comConsultingConsulting practice that develops fluidic devices, instruments and processes, with a focus on the early stages of product development
Arcxis Biotechnologiesarcxis.comDiagnosticsIntegrated, compact molecular diagnostic solutions
Cellanyxwww.cellanyx.comDiagnosticsCancer diagnostics
CorSolutionsmyCorSolutions.comComponentsTechnology for leak-tight, low-dead volume, high or low pressure microfluidic connections. Connections can be made with tubes, cartridges, fittings, reactors, filters and other parts common in liquid handling and microfluidics. Also offers pumps and sensors for fluidic applications.
Firefly Bioworksfireflybio.comResearch instrumentsDeveloping an instrument-independent, universal platform for solution-phase multiplexed detection of proteins and nucleic acids, based on multifunctional encoded microparticles. The microparticles are produced by Optical Liquid Stamping, a microfabrication method combining microfluidics with photolithography.
Fluidic Toolswww.fluidic-tools.com/Research instruments, ConsultingDesigns, fabricates and sells tools for the microfluidics research and development community. Current products include a pressure source that can drive liquids through microfluidic circuits and a thermal press that embosses and bonds microfluidic parts.
Fluigentfluigent.comDiagnostics, Research instrumentsTools for flow control in micro-channels and genetic testing in capillaries and chips
Fraunhofer USA - Center for Manufacturing Innovation (CMI)fraunhofer.orgDiagnostics, Research instrumentsNon-profit research institute research group focuses on the integration of microfluidic methodologies, high precision micromachining manufacturing techniques and nanotechnology to address unmet needs in sample preparation, cell and tissue culture, clinical diagnostics, and medical devices.
Gradientechwww.gradientech.se/Research instrumentsMicrofluidic products for analysis of cell migration and cell behavior in response to gradients of signaling molecules (chemotaxis)
HJC Consultinghjcconsulting.caConsultingScientific consulting with core technical competencies in microfluidics, separation science, analytical instrument development, and analytical chemistry
InStep NanoPowerinstepnanopower.comEnergyDroplet-based human gait energy scavenger
MicroLab Devicesmicrolabdevices.comCustom development, manufacturing, research instrumentsProvide research groups with instrumentation, offer a multi-physics simulation service with fault analysis (leading to false positives and negatives). Design and manufacturing services to go from proof-of-concept to a deployable system.
MicroTECmicrotec-d.comDevelopment, components, manufacturingDevelops and produces MEMS, microsystems and components including: fluidics for synthesis and analysis (electrical and optical): integrated electrodes, valves, heating and cooling elements; micromechanics for cell disruption, micro-arrays, micro titre plates, polymer Lab-on-chip. Also micro-actuators, micro-needles, micro-filters with high aspect ratios, electrode fixtures.
mikroglashttp://www.mikroglas.com/Research instruments, custom development, componentsProduces microreactors, micromixers, micro heat exchangers, microseparators, lab-on-a-chip components, lab equipment, for biotech and
chemistry applications since 1999.
Minitechminitech.comManufacturing and prototyping equipmentManufactures small CNC machines for fabricating microfluidic structures. Nanomachining, micromilling.
Nanolabwarewww.nanolabware.comComponents, research instrumentsTools for micro and nanofluidics, including microfluidic components,
micro instrumentation, droplet technology
PositiveID Corporationpositiveidcorp.comDiagnostics, Medical devicesDevelops medical devices and biological detection systems focused primarily on diabetes management, rapid medical testing and airborne bio-threat detection. Its wholly-owned subsidiary, MicroFluidic Systems or MFS, is focused on the development of microfluidic systems for the automated preparation of and performance of biological assays.
Rogue Valley Microdevicesroguevalleymicro.comFoundry, Development, DesignFull-service MEMS foundry specializing in MEMS and Biomedical Device fabrication
Translumetranslume.comComponents, manufacturing, custom developmentFocus on glass machining, glass micromachining.
Trianjatrianja.comManufacturing, custom components.Micro and nano structured glass-based solutions for use in high-throughput, chemical and biological devices such as microfluidics, microarrays, lab-on-a-chip, µTAS, nanofluidics, bio-chips, sensors, medical devices, and filtration membranes.
Wave 80 Bioscienceswww.wave80.comDiagnosticsMolecular diagnostics products for infectious disease, cancer, autoimmune disease, and other human health conditions

I know there are more companies out there!  Do you have a microfluidics- or BioMEMS-related company to add?  If so, contact me!

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Assay Development Scientist, Diagnostics — Woburn, MA

This position was submitted by a recruiter.
Assay Development Scientist, Diagnostics
Location:  Woburn, MA

Company Overview: Our client is an entrepreneurial and innovative diagnostics company developing assays for a Point-of-Care diagnostic test system for use in physician offices in the United States and for applications worldwide. This company is located in Woburn MA.

Description of Position:Our client is looking for bench-level scientist with strong skills in developing analytical biochemistry. The individual hired will extend the capability of our client’s microfluidic diagnostic platform to implement innovative protein assays for clinical diagnostics applications. Technical responsibilities will include surface modification for the attachment of biological probes, protein conjugates preparation, reagent selection/optimization, protein assay development, analytical/clinical verification studies. Other cross-functional responsibilities include interfacing with funding agencies (progress reports and field demonstrations) and securing additional financial support for platform development. This individual will also be responsible for contributing to and executing on clearly defined project plans and budgets. The candidate will report to the Director of Assay Development. Position Responsibilities: Design Technical lead of assay development activities with bench level work. Demonstrate proof-of-principle studies for expanding the assay menu on the Company microfluidic platform. Lead analytical and pre-clinical studies to meet assay specifications. Interface with funding agencies, including regular progress reports and project presentations. Lead author on follow-up grand proposals to funding agencies. Publication in academic and industry journals and participation in field testing / demonstrations. Interface with R&D and manufacturing teams to facilitate transfer of assay to product development.

Candidate Requirements:Bench experience in academic or industry setting for biosensors R&D, analytical methodologies, and good track record in troubleshooting assay methods. Exposure to microfluidic device technology is a plus. Strong English written and oral communication skills. Experience with interfacing funding agencies (reporting and grant submission). Ph.D. (or M.S.) education in the fields of biochemistry, bioengineering or chemistry. Interest in working in an entrepreneurial environment. Ability to work in the US without Sponsorship.


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Research Associate, Diagnostics — Woburn, MA

This position was submitted by a recruiter.

Research Associate, Diagnostics
Location: Woburn, MA

Description of Company: Our client is an entrepreneurial and innovative diagnostics company developing assays for a Point-of-Care diagnostic test system for use in physician offices in the United States and for applications worldwide. This company is located in Woburn MA.

Description of position: Our client islooking for a Research Associate to join their team who has laboratory experience (biology, biochemistry) and a willingness to learn new laboratory skills and technologies. The individual hired will assist in the development of Point-of-Care immunoassays in microfluidic format on a proprietary diagnostic platform. Our client is looking for a detail-oriented individual who will perform experiments in novel devices with micrometer-sized features. This position offers the exciting opportunity to contribute to the entire development cycle of new diagnostic tests employing multiple formats and grow along the company as it expands activities in clinical trials, regulatory approval, and market launch.

Position Responsibilities: Design, perform, and document experiments in the context of immunoreagent development, immunoassay product optimization and analytical/clinical studies. Troubleshoot assay, consult literature and actively propose/pursue solutions. Assist in the design and development of test system, contribute to regulatory activities. Accomplish goals under tight time lines. Work closely with project leader to improve test protocols.

Candidate Requirements: A BS/MS in biology, biochemistry, bioengineering, chemistry, or other science. 1-5 years of laboratory focused work experience. Familiarity with clinical diagnostics is a plus. Experience working with Immunoassays. Interest in working in an entrepreneurial environment. Excellent communication, organizational, and team work skills. Ability to wok in the US without sponsorship.


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Startup Spotlight: Cellanyx Diagnostics

Current tests can diagnose prostate cancer, but it’s harder to tell if your cancer is slow-growing or aggressive.  This is a problem because prostate cancer treatments can be worse than the disease itself, so you don’t want to pursue aggressive therapy unless you have a rapidly life-threatening cancer.  Spun out of Columbia University but located in Boston’s Innovation DistrictCellanyx Diagnostics is a new startup using novel biomarkers combined with microfluidic culture of biopsied tumor cells to assess the aggressiveness of prostate cancer.  The specifics of the technology are not fully described, however since the work is based on founder Ashok Chander’s PhD research at Columbia (2012), it is possible they are using biophysical markers (e.g., ExtraCellular Matrix-Focal Adhesion-Actin coupling) measured in a microfluidic experimental setup that controls the surfaces and mechanical environment surrounding the cultured tumor cells.

The team has entered several competitions to date, winning the 2012 Columbia Venture Competition and reaching the semifinals in MIT’s 100K competition.  It’s terrific to have another lab-on-a-chip startup out there!  I keep hearing about new companies every week — drop me a line if you’d like your company to be added to the growing list.

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  • FluidicMEMS is…

    ...a blog about how microfluidics and bioMEMS technologies can solve real-world problems.

    ...an event series in Boston aimed at bringing together the innovation community surrounding these endeavors.

    ...lead by a team of MIT-trained engineers with backgrounds in microfluidics.

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