Students Pengfei Song, Weize Zhang and Alexandre Sobolevski, under the supervision of Professor Xinyu Liu, won the Best Paper Award in the Microfluidics Symposium at the 2014 ASME IMECE conference. The team developed a microfluidic device for on-chip culture, chemical perfusion and phenotype identification of the nematode worm C. elegans, a promising development for worm-based, high-throughput chemical testing. The device can house single worms in microfluidic chambers, the chemical environment of which can be adjusted according to experimental needs. Eight worms can be efficiently loaded into the chambers through separate channels. Custom software with a graphic interface permits quantitative analysis of the worms' locomotion parameters (e.g., swimming frequency and bend amplitude) in response to the chemical stimuli, thus greatly enhancing the efficiency of data collection. This project was completed through close collaboration with the research group of Professor Siegfried Hekimi at McGill’s Biology Department.
A research article co-authored by Chen Zhao, Guowei Zhong, Da-Eun Kim, Professor Jinxia Liu (Civil Engineering) and Professor Xinyu Liu is nominated as one of 10 finalists for the Best Paper Award by the AIP journal, Biomicrofluidics. The finalists were selected from the 185 articles published by the journal in 2014. The article reports a handheld lab-on-a-chip instrument integrating gold nanoparticle-based chemistry for colorimetric detection of metal ions, such as lead (Pb2+) and aluminum (Al3+), in drinking water. This portable device will have important applications for onsite water quality monitoring and is currently under further development for field water tests.