The field of microfluidics is uniquely poised to make a broad impact in biomedical sciences through the miniaturization and mass parallelization of biological experimentation. For example, future advances in microfluidics could revolutionize disease diagnosis, drug discovery, and pathogen detection. For these impacts to be realized we need individuals conversant in engineering, chemistry, biology, and medical sciences. Currently however, such cross-trained people are in short supply. To address this shortage, we propose a five-year program to train the next generation of biomedical microfluidics experts. This program combines the expertise of faculty from engineering, chemistry, physics, and the medical school plus the world-class Solid State Electronics Laboratory (SSEL) for state-of-the-art micro- and nanofabrication. The premise of the program is that students should have significant training in both the methods of microfluidics and in the biomedical applications of this technology. Such training enhances the communication between disciplines, identification of solvable biomedical and clinical problems, and selection of appropriate tools to solve these problems. The training of the students in this program will involve a combination of course work, seminar series, hands-on workshop, annual symposium, journal club, and cross-disciplinary lab rotation or collaboration. All of these activities are beyond the requirements of the trainee's home department. The core course for this program "Microfluidic Science and Engineering" has been taught for several years with success. The seminar and workshop were originally developed by graduate students independent of the training program showing the enthusiasm of the graduate students for this topic. We feel that this combination of practical teaching, cross- disciplinary exposure, and intensive microfluidic study will produce students well positioned to answer the growing need for highly educated and trained microfluidics experts.
This application seeks to train scientists and engineers to utilize microfluidic technology for application to biomedical science. Microfluidics enables control of fluids at micron dimensions. The technology has potential for improving healthcare through many application areas including diagnostics, enabling new research, and drug discovery.
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