Drop-based microfluidics: Biology a picoliter at a time

ChEMS Seminar

Dr. David A. Weitz

Professor, Department of Physicsand and Applied Physics

Harvard University


Abstract: This talk will describe the use of microfluidic technology to control and manipulate drops whose volume is about one picoliter. These can serve as reaction vessels for biological assays. These drops can be manipulated with very high precision using an inert carrier oil to control the fluidics, ensuring the samples never contact the walls of the fluidic channels. Small quantities of other reagents can be injected with a high degree of control. The drops can also encapsulate cells, enabling cell-based assays to be carried out. Examples of the application of these devices to the study of fundamental biology and to biotechnology will be described.


Professor Weitz received his PhD from Harvard University, and then spent 18 years working at Exxon Research and Engineering Co. He spent several years as Professor of Physics at the University of Pennsylvania, and then went to Harvard University in 1999 where he is currently a Professor of Physics and Applied Physics.