A recent discovery has been made by Professor Thomas Gervais of Polytechnique Montréal along with his students Pierre-Alexandre Goyette and Étienne Boulais, in collaboration with the team led by Professor David Juncker of McGill University. They have discovered a new microfluidic process. This process is capable of automating protein detection by putting antibodies to use. The work reflects the arrival of new portable instruments that re helpful in speeding up the screening process and molecule analysis that take place in the biological laboratories so as to increase the research in cancer biology. Microfluidics means manipulation of fluids in the microscale devices. It is ordinarily referred to as "labs on a chip".
The microfluidic systems are commonly used in order to study and analyze very small-scale chemical or biological samples. These samples are capable of replacing the extremely expensive and cumbersome instruments that are utilised for traditional biological analyses. Microfluidics was listed in 2001 among the "10 Emerging Technologies That Will Change the World" by the MIT Technology Review. It is considered extremely revolutionary for biology and chemistry just as microprocessors have been of high importance to the electronics and IT sector, and it applies to a huge market. In the present day it is being radically transformed by the discovery made by the group of researchers from Polytechnique and McGill University. The discovery reinforces the theoretical and experimental foundations of open-space microfluidics. The technology is such that it is capable of eliminating channels, and competing with traditional microfluidics for various types of analyses. Practically, the classical configuration of closed-channel microfluidic devices consists of numerous disadvantages for example the scale of the channel cross-sections increases the stress that cells undergo when they are culture. Also, they are not compatible with the cell-culture standard, the Petri dish, which makes it difficult for the industry to adopt and use it. The new approach put forward by Polytechnique and McGill University researchers uses microfluidic multipoles (MFMs). The MFM are a system of simultaneous fluid suction and aspiration through opposing micro-openings on a very small surface placed in a confined space that is less than 0.1 mm thick. When these come into contact with each other, these jets of fluid form patterns that can be seen by dyeing them with chemical reagents. This has been revealed by Professor Gervais. The researchers are keen to understand these patterns at the time of developing a dependable method for modelling MFMs. In order to gain more understanding, the team developed a new mathematical model for open multipolar flows. This model is based on a classical branch of mathematics called conformal mapping that resolves an issue related to a complex geometry by changing it to a simpler geometry (and vice-versa).
By: Anuja Arora