Corporate Banner
Satellite Banner
Automation & Microfluidics
Scientific Community
Become a Member | Sign in
Home>News>This Article

Automating Laboratory-On-A-Chip To Cut Healthcare Costs

Published: Friday, June 20, 2014
Last Updated: Monday, July 07, 2014
Bookmark and Share
Computer programming language automates “laboratory-on-a-chip” technologies and has potential to improve and reduce cost of healthcare.

A research team at the University of California, Riverside has created a computer programming language that will automate “laboratory-on-a-chip” technologies used in DNA sequencing, drug discovery, virus detection and other biomedical applications.

A laboratory-on-a-chip is a device that integrates laboratory functions on a chip that is only millimeters or centimeters in size. The technology allows for the automation and miniaturization of biochemical reactions. It has the potential and to improve and reduce the cost of healthcare.

“If you think of the beginning of computers they were basically tools to automate mathematics,” saidPhilip Brisk, an assistant professor in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering at UC Riverside’s Bourns College of Engineering. “What are we are creating is devices that could automate chemistry in much the same way.”

The most recent laboratory-on-a-chip devices are equipped with integrated electronic sensors, similar in principle to those used in today’s smart phones and tablet PCs. These sensors enable scientists and health care professionals working with the devices to analyze the sensor data to make informed decisions about future analyses to perform.

Brisk and his research team are funneling the sensor data into a computer, facilitating automated decision making, rather than employing a human-in-the-loop.

“We are really trying to eliminate as much human interaction as possible,” Brisk said. “Now, you have a chip, you use it and then you analyze it. Through automation and programmability, you eliminate human error, cuts costs and speed up the entire process.”

Brisk’s findings were recently published in a paper, “Interpreting Assays with Control Flow on Digital Microfluidic Biochips,” in ACM Journal on Emerging Technologies in Computing Systems.

There were two co-authors: Daniel Grissom, one of Brisk’s Ph.D. students; and Christopher Curtis, who worked with Brisk for three years as an undergraduate and plans to return as a Ph.D. student in the fall.

The team started with an existing biological programming language, BioCoder, developed by Microsoft’s research office in India. It was originally created to improve the reproducibility and automation of biology experiments by using a programming language to express the series of steps taken.

The UC Riverside team modified BioCoder to process sensor feedback in real-time. Using a software simulator to mimic the behavior of a laboratory-on-a-chip, they proved it works.  Now, in conjunction withWilliam Grover, an assistant professor of bioengineering at UC Riverside, they plan to build a prototype chip that can be used for real world applications.

This research is supported by the National Science Foundation under grant CNS-1035603, an NSF Graduate Research Fellowship awarded to Grissom, and a UC Riverside Dissertation Year Fellowship, also awarded to Grissom, who completes his Ph.D. in June, 2014.

Brisk was also recently awarded a five-year, $493,645 National Science Foundation CAREER grant for related research to apply semiconductor design automation and layout principles to laboratory-on-a-chip technology.

Further Information
Access to this exclusive content is for Technology Networks Premium members only.

Join Technology Networks Premium for free access to:

  • Exclusive articles
  • Presentations from international conferences
  • Over 2,800+ scientific posters on ePosters
  • More than 4,000+ scientific videos on LabTube
  • 35 community eNewsletters

Sign In

Forgotten your details? Click Here
If you are not a member you can join here

*Please note: By logging into you agree to accept the use of cookies. To find out more about the cookies we use and how to delete them, see our privacy policy.

Scientific News
Discovery Provides New Opportunities for Chips
Scientists at the University of Twente's MESA+ research institute have developed a new manufacturing method to create three-dimensional nanostructures.
Penn Engineering Team Showcases ‘Eye-on-a-Chip’ Technology
These small plastic chips contain microfluidic channels, carefully designed so that human cells can grow in them in a way that simulates the three-dimensional environments they would normally inhabit in the body.
Miniaturizable Magnetic Resonance
Microscopic gem the key to new development in magnetic lab-on-a-chip technology.
Education and Expense: The Barriers to Mass Spectrometry in Clinical Laboratories?
Here we examine the perceived barriers to mass spec in clinical laboratories and explore the possible drivers behind the recent shift in uptake of the technology in clinical settings.
Chip-Based Technology Enables Reliable Direct Detection of Ebola Virus
Hybrid device integrates a microfluidic chip for sample preparation and an optofluidic chip for optical detection of individual molecules of viral RNA.
Stem Cell Research Hints at Evolution of Human Brain
Researchers at UC San Francisco have succeeded in mapping the genetic signature of a unique group of stem cells in the human brain that seem to generate most of the neurons in our massive cerebral cortex.
Developing a Breathalyzer-Type Low Blood Sugar Warning Device For Diabetes
A multidisciplinary team of researchers at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis has been awarded a $738,000 National Science Foundation grant to develop a breathalyzer-type device to detect the onset of hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar episodes, in people with diabetes.
Smartphone App to Monitor Serious Blood Disorder
A researcher from Florida Atlantic University has come up with a unique way to monitor sickle cell disease -- a serious blood disorder -- using a smart phone.
Preventing Crystallization to Improve Drug Efficiency
Esther Amstad and an international team of researchers have developed a method to increase the solubility of poorly soluble substances, such as many of the newly developed drugs.
‘Lab-on-a-Chip’ Technology Cuts Costs of Lab Tests
With ability to analyze minuscule amounts of fluid, Rutgers breakthrough could also promote central nervous system and joint research.
Scroll Up
Scroll Down
Skyscraper Banner

Skyscraper Banner
Go to LabTube
Go to eposters
Access to the latest scientific news
Exclusive articles
Upload and share your posters on ePosters
Latest presentations and webinars
View a library of 1,800+ scientific and medical posters
2,800+ scientific and medical posters
A library of 2,500+ scientific videos on LabTube
4,000+ scientific videos