Lab-on-chip molecular diagnostics
Integrated microfluidic systems exploit advantages such as reduced volumes, increased surface to volume and reduced reaction times to implement biochemical assays in Point Of Care (POC) applications. The Life Sciences Interface Group in Tyndall is investigating the merging of microfluidic technologies with biochemical protocols for biomolecule extraction, amplification, purification and detection (Figure1). To achieve near-patient systems which provide a complete “blood-to-diagnosis” solution, there needs to be modules with a capability to isolate, capture and amplify target biomolecules (e.g. DNA,RNA) for detection, utilizing on-chip pumping, valving, mixing and reaction capabilities. The fluidic challenge is to enable a seamless molecular protocol from DNA extraction to detection, on an integrated microfluidic platform. For some platforms, this requires integrating heterogenous optical and fluidic components fabricated from varied materials and technologies, while maintaining component performance. Biological specimens may be subjected to several different processing steps, where specific reagent volumes are activated under time, temperature, pH and flow critical conditions. The systems under development by the Life Sciences Interface Group in Tyndall have considered material compatibility, cost and manufacturability as key design parameters. Proprietary solutions for interfacing of biological specimens such as blood, to the device in a robust, repeatable and representative fashion while minimizing the possibility of contamination are also being investigated.
Dr. Paul Galvin
Head of Life Sciences Interface Group, Tyndall National Institute