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Professor Steve Shih, Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering, Concordia University, Montreal Quebec

Event Date: 
Monday, April 8, 2019 - 3:30pm to 4:30pm

Microfluidics for Health, Energy, and Synthetic Biology

Microfluidics, a ‘lab-on-chip’ technology, has been touted in the past decade as a way to manipulate fluids on the microscale for biological and chemical applications.  In this talk, I will describe the use of a droplet paradigm of microfluidics – i.e. droplet-in-flow and digital microfluidics – for applications related to health, energy, and synthetic biology.  Specifically, first, I will describe an automated cell culturing system that can be used to potentially decipher cancer pathways. Second, I will describe how we are developing new systems for enzymatic screening assays related to biofuel production. And finally, I will describe how we can use the on-demand nature of droplet microfluidics for synthetic biology -  DNA construction and cloning.  These are the new possibilities for biological applications that are enabled by droplet-type microfluidics.  I will also review some of our efforts in creating automation systems and rapid prototyping of devices.

Steve completed his BASc in Electrical Engineering from Toronto and then went to University of Ottawa to complete his Master’s degree in Chemistry.  He then returned to Toronto to complete his Ph.D in Biomedical Engineering specializing in microfluidic technologies.  He then spent 2.5 years at UC Berkeley and at the Joint BioEnergy Institute as a postdoctoral researcher under the supervision of Dr. Jay Keasling and Dr. Nathan Hillson where he learned pathway engineering and synthetic biology.  As of 2016, he is an Assistant Professor at Concordia University in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering with a cross-appointment in Biology.  He is also a member of the only Center for Applied Synthetic Biology in Canada.  His research focuses on developing microfluidic tools for health, energy, and synthetic biology applications.  Recently, he has been awarded the Allan Kuchinsky Bio-Automation Award from Synthetic Biology Automation Society and elected as an Emerging Investigator from the Royal Society of Chemistry.


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