MicroTAS 2011 Oct 2-6

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RSC Lab on a Chip



October 1, 2011

Tomorrow is the first day of MicroTAS 2011 (Oct 2-6), which is taking place in Seattle, WA this year. When I go to bed tonight, I’ll close my eyes and wish really hard, but I’m afraid I won’t open them to find myself magically transported to Rain City. Unfamiliar with MicroTAS? Let’s start with the name; MicroTAS (µTAS, micro-TAS or micro TAS) stands for micro total analysis system. This is simply another self-describing name for a lab-on-a-chip. A micro TAS should be a micro-sized device that contains all necessary steps to perform analysis of a sample. If you’ve read my other posts, this is nothing new, just a different name. Anyway, MicroTAS is a conference held every year on “Miniaturized Systems for Chemistry and Life Sciences.” µTAS is “the premier forum for reporting research results in microfluidics, microfabrication, nanotechnology, integration, materials and surfaces, analysis and synthesis, and detection technologies for life science and chemistry.” The conference is in its 15th year and is back in the United States. It takes place every three years in the US and has been in Jeju, South Korea and Groningen, the Netherlands since it was in San Diego in 2008. This year’s conference is chaired by James Landers of the University of Virginia. His lab focuses on micro TAS topics like integrating functionality, fluidic control, genetic analysis and protein and small molecule analysis.

Like I said, I won’t be there, but I’ll still point you towards some key components of the conference, and will hopefully be able to give you some updates after the conference. There are a ton of different programs at MicroTAS 2011, and I invite you to check them out. This year, the conference will be presenting the following awards:

Art in Science Award

This is the award I’m most excited about. I think that images of micro-sized structures are really beautiful (with or without artificial colors), and I love to see them get recognition. Last year’s winner of this award was Nicholas Gunn of UC Irvine, and he had his image put on the cover of Lab on a Chip. His image is “a colorized SEM micrograph showing fibroblast cells cultured on microscale pedestals.” The pedestals prevented migration of the fibroblasts while still allowing the exchange of soluble factors. I can’t wait to see this year’s winner, and you can bet that I’ll post it here.

Cell Block 9 by Nicholas Gunn