Soper Addresses Lab-on-a-Chip Meeting

Prof. Steve Soper traveled to Coronado Island/San Diego, CA October 7-9, 2019 for the 11th Annual Lab-on-a-Chip & Microfluidics World Congress 2019. He gave a keynote presentation on October 7 titled “Polymer-based Nanosensors for Single-Molecule Sequencing,” during which he spoke about his research group’s efforts to generate a single-molecule DNA/RNA sequencing platform that can acquire sequencing information with high accuracy (>95%) at unprecedented throughputs (106 bases-s). His lecture also included their efforts on building nanosensors using NIL in thermoplastics, and the detection of single molecules using electrical transduction with their identity deduced from the associated flight time provided. Additionally, Soper talked about surface modifications of thermoplastics for the immobilization of biologics, such as exonucleases, as well as the activity of biological enzymes when immobilized to a plastic support. Finally, information on the manipulation of single DNA molecules using nanofluidics circuits was presented that takes advantage of forming unique nanoscale features to shape electric fields for DNA manipulation and serves as the operational basis of the nanosensing platform.

Soper also gave a Short Course workshop on October 7th called “Microfluidics for Clinical Diagnostics.” Microfluidics is becoming an integral part of medicine and has already generated some commercial applications in the biomedical research domains. For example, the Illumina next generation sequencing (NGS) platform uses a microfluidic flow cell for cluster generation followed by sequencing-by-synthesis with fluorescence readout. Even the sample preparation phases of NGS use microfluidics; the integrity of library preparation is evaluated using the Agilent TapeStation. Many commercial microfluidic platforms are now starting to transition into the clinical domain, where specific clinical decisions are made based on biomarkers, assays and the appropriate hardware (microfluidic hardware) to provide information to the clinician on how to effectively manage a patient’s disease based on the molecular composition of their disease (i.e., precision medicine). In this workshop, participants became familiar with some basic considerations on how to transition a new technology into the clinic (from conception to clinical implementation); Soper discussed microfluidic technologies and how to move them into the clinic.