SIMTech Microfluidics Seminar

Date: 06 Mar 2012 - 06 Mar 2012

Venue: Auditorium, Level 3, Tower Block, 71 Nanyang Drive, Singapore 638075

Guest Speaker: Professor Jonathan Cooper, Biomedical Engineering, University of Glasgow, UK

Introduction This seminar will provide an excellent forum to interact and share ideas on the latest technological advances and emerging applications related to the microfluidics, or lab-on-chip. Technology leaders from the research community and industry will be speaking on emerging topics about microfluidics research and development, industry applications, manufacturing challenges, and potential commercialisation.  
1.30pm       Registration
2.00pm       Welcome Remarks by Dr Wang Zhiping, Director, SIMTech Microfluidics Foundry
2.05pm       Developing Diagnostics for the Developing World by Professor Jonathan Cooper, University of Glasgow, UK. Abstract : Infectious diseases cause 10 million deaths each year worldwide, accounting for ~60% of all deaths of children aged 5-14. Although these deaths arise primarily through pneumonia, TB, malaria and HIV, there are also the so called “neglected diseases” such as sleeping sickness and bilharzia, which have a devastating impact on rural communities, in sub-Sahara Africa. Here, the demands for a successful Developing World diagnostic are particularly rigorous, requiring low cost instrumentation with low power consumption (there is often no fixed power infrastructure). In many cases, the levels of infection within individuals are also sufficiently low that instruments must show extra-ordinary sensitivity, with measurements being made in blood or saliva. In this talk, a description of these demands will be given, together with a review of some of the solutions that have been developed, which include using acoustics, optics and electro technologies, and their combinations to manipulate the fluid sample. In one example, we show how to find a single trypanosome, as the causative agent of sleeping sickness, amongst a background of over 100 million bloods cells.
2.45pm       Manufacturing of Polymer Microfluidics, the Potential and Challenges by Dr Wang Zhiping, SIMTech, Singapore Abstract : It is predicted that disposable device applications will be the most significant and essential market segment for microfluidics. However, amongst other issues, the high manufacturing cost and lack of design and manufacturing standards for large volume manufacturing of microfluidic devices have prevented their widespread commercial adoption. In this talk, some key challenges on manufacturing polymer based microfluidics will be addressed, and some technology innovations will be introduced.

3.15pm.     Microfluidics from a Commercial Standpoint by Dr Johnson Ng, JN Medsys Pte Ltd Abstract :   There have been countless publications of technically advanced microfluidic devices developed by university and research laboratories all over the world. However few of these end up to be widely used in the commercial world. What issues are preventing these microfluidic devices from fulfilling their mass market potential? From a commercial standpoint, is there something that consumers want that these seemingly powerful microfluidic devices cannot yet achieve? What does it take to develop a microfluidic device that will sell like hot cakes?

3.45pm      Refreshments
4.15pm      Micro Optofluidics and Micro Magnetofluidics, the Emerging Microfluidics Thrusts by Professor Nguyen Nam-Trung, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore Abstract : Microfluidics has been a key thrust for the science and technology of miniaturisation in the last decade. The increasing number of applications and commercial products based on this technology is the proof for its significance. Miniaturisation allows the true coupling of different physical domains such as fluidics, electrics, magnetism and optics. In the past, the use of electric field in microfluidics has been demonstrated in numerous applications. Phenomena such as electro osmosis, electrophoresis and dielectrophoresis have been used for transport, separation and manipulation in microfluidics. Recently, the field of micro optofluidics emerged as an exciting research field with great application potential. Magnetism has been widely used in microfluidics. Although there are numerous applications with magnetic beads and magnetic control in microfluidics, the interactions between magnetism and fluid flow in the microscale have not been fully investigated at the fundamental level. This talk reports our recent results on of the interaction between light, magnetic field, multi-phase flow and dispersed magnetic particles in the microscale. The coupling of light, magnetism and flow phenomena shows interesting phenomena with potentially high-impact applications
4.45pm      Multiphase Microfluidics for Nanomaterial Synthesis by Professor Saif A Khan, National University of Singapore Abstract : Non-equilibrium chemistry and transport phenomena interact in living systems to produce unusual molecules and diverse functional materials. In this talk, microfluidic methods for non-equilibrium materials chemistry that enable systematic and controlled exploration of a wide processing 'landscape' will be discussed. Emphasis will be on how dynamic and spatially structured chemical environments within microscopic bubbles, drops and composite foams/emulsions can enable efficient and economical processes to synthesize colloidal nanomaterials of medicinal and therapeutic value. The talk will be centered on three specific aspects that make microfluidic systems attractive for the development of continuous-flow processes for nanomaterials synthesis – (1) Microfluidic systems enable excellent control over contacting and mixing of multiple fluid phases – a key feature in implementing continuous-flow materials synthesis processes, (2) Flow dispersion can be reduced or even completely eliminated in multiphase microfluidic systems - this is of much benefit in the reaction engineering of nanomaterials, and (3) Novel fluid environments based on tailored, functional fluid interfaces can be realised with multiphase microfluidics – these can subsequently be used to realise ‘unconventional’ materials syntheses.
5.15pm      Rapid Prototyping of Lap-on-a-Chip Devices by Dr Muntak Son, Clearbridge Bioloc Pte Ltd Abstract : The three layered PDMS lab-on-a-chip is a useful microfluidic device. Micro valve/pump/mixer can be easily constructed on the platform. The pneumatic layer on the bottom provides conduits for pressurised air while the liquid laser on the top have micro channel to provide liquid flow channel. In the middle, there is a thin PDMS membrane, bonded by oxygen plasma, acting as a valve seat or pump diaphragm. Pressurised air is used to run the valve and mixer by expanding the thin PDMS membrane. Construction of the 3-layer PDMS chip requires a series of photolithography process as well as oxygen plasma bonding and vacuum molding. The driving and evaluation of PDMS chip also need a sophisticated setup that is composed of pressurised air manifold and microscope. A rapid prototyping system of PDMS chip was developed. The whole process can be completed in an hour including driving and evaluation of the chip. Miniaturised photolithography and atmospheric plasma bonding machines are included. A novel pneumatic manifold is designed for easy PDMS chip operation. 7" Android tablet is used as a digital microscope as well as a process controller. In this talk, a brief introduction of the rapid prototyping system will be presented with a  demo system.
5.50pm      End
About Presenters
Professor Jonathan Cooper holds The Wolfson Chair in Biomedical Engineering at the University of Glasgow. His research group comprises ca. 35 people and involves a broad range of projects in the field of Biomedical Engineering. He has published ca. 200 research papers (H factor 34) with a further 18 books, book chapters and reviews. Over the last 4 years he has managed to attract four externally Research Fellows to his group, who help drive and support this activity. His research focuses into three major themes, namely Lab-on-a-Chip and Diagnostics; Synthetic Biology; and Fluid Dynamics and Rheology. In the context of Lab-on-a-Chip and Diagnostics, he is particularly interested in developing diagnostics for infectious disease, and works with The Gates Foundation as well as other NGOs in developing assays for tuberculosis, for malaria and for sleeping sickness. These assays are all focused on very low cost technologies, which can be enabled through low power electronics (including smart phones). He was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering (2004) and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh (2001). He was appointed to the Wolfson Chair in Biomedical Engineering in 2009 and was awarded a Royal Society Merit Award in 2010.
Dr Wang Zhiping is the Programme Manager of Microfluidics Manufacturing Programme and Director of SIMTech Microfluidics Foundry of Singapore Institute of Manufacturing Technology (SIMTech), where he is leading a team of 30 researchers to develop and implement polymer based microfluidics manufacturing technologies. Dr Wang received his D. Phil degree in Engineering Science in 1990 from Oxford University. Since then, he had held various positions as Research Fellow, Senior Research Fellow, Group Manager, Senior Manager and CTO in the research institute or industry. Currently, he is also the Director of Research Programmes in SIMTech.
Dr Johnson Ng graduated with a B.Eng (First Class Honours) and Ph.D in Bioengineering from the National University of Singapore. As part of his graduate thesis, he invented an addressable microbead array system that is currently being commercialized through Ayoxxa, an NUS spin-off company. Upon graduation, he joined a Singapore start-up company, Biochip Devises, as its pioneer staff and worked on developing a rapid diagnostic device for the company. In 2010, Johnson founded JN Medsys, a company focused on developing innovative instrumentation for biological applications. The company was recently awarded a SPRING technology commercialisation grant. Johnson is author of three patents and 8 publications. He loves sports and used to run a lot. These days, he mostly runs after his two lovely and highly energetic young daughters.
Dr Nam-Trung Nguyen received his Dip-Ing, Dr Ing and Dr Ing Habil degrees from Chemnitz University of Technology, Germany, in 1993, 1997 and 2004, respectively. In 1998, he was a postdoctoral research engineer in the Berkeley Sensor and Actuator Center (University of California at Berkeley, USA). Currently, he is an Associate Professor with the School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering (MAE) of Nanyang Technological University (NTU) in Singapore. His research is focused on microfluidics, nanofluidics, micro/nano-machining technologies, micro/nano-scale science, and instrumentation for biomedical applications. He published over 130 journal papers and filed 8 patents, of which 3 were granted. Among the books he has written, the first and second editions of the bestseller "Fundamentals and Applications of Microfluidics" co-authored with S. Wereley were published in 2002 and 2006, respectively. The second edition of the bestselling book "Micromixer" was recently published by Elsevier. Dr Nguyen is a Fellow of ASME and a Member of IEEE.
Dr Saif A. Khan received his Ph.D. in chemical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2006, where he was an R. T. Haslam Presidential Fellow. In 2006, he joined the National University of Singapore (NUS) as Assistant Professor in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering. He is also a Singapore-MIT Alliance Fellow in the Chemical and Pharmaceutical Engineering Programme. His current research interests include microfluidics, soft condensed matter physics, colloid science, plasmonic nanomaterials and chemical reaction engineering. His research group at NUS focuses on various aspects of microscale fluid physics and phenomena, with the aim of developing new experimental methods for chemistry and biology that complement or extend existing macroscopic methods.
Dr Muntak Son graduated from Seoul National University in 1989 with a degree in B. Sc of Microbiology, M. Eng of Biochemical Engineering(1992) and a Ph.D. of Analytic Chemistry from Univ. of South Australia(1997).  In his capacity as  the CEO of Biolocs Co. Ltd, he was in-charge of the rapid prototyping of microfluidic device business. Currently, he is the CTO of Clearbridge Bioloc Co. Ltd. in Singapore. Dr Son also developed a disposable lab-on-a-film technology in which he transferred it to US and Korean companies. In Singapore, he also developed a foil based lab-on-a-chip technology.  His main interest is the rapid prototyping system which can make lab-on-a-chip.
Who Should Attend
Executives, managers, engineers, researchers and students  who are interested in the market opportunities and technology trends in microfluidics technologies.
Registration This is a non-chargeable seminar. To reserve a seat, please register online.
Contact Us For enquiries on seminar content: Dr Wang Zhenfeng, Email:
For general enquiries:  Ms Samantha Sukiyama Chan, Email: