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Nanyang Technological University Center for Continuing Education

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About the course

Labs on chip (LOC) have been the main sources of innovation for microfluidic technology in recent years. LOC is a term coined to represent the integration of multiple laboratory operations on miniaturized microfluidics devices. Microfluidics LOC systems offer advantages such as low sample volume, fast response time, low cost and batch production capabilities. LOC technologies found numerous applications in the water desalination, biomedical and pharmaceutical industries. More specifically, the growth of LOC field is spurred by the ability to provide solutions that were not possible or less efficient with conventional laboratory methods. These include rapid diagnostics for cancer and diseases, bacteria detection, drug efficacy & resistance testing, immunoassay, and genomics & proteomics.

Currently, the major players in the LOC market include Agilent Technologies (U.S.), Bio-Rad Laboratories (U.S.), Fluidigm Corporation (U.S.), GE Healthcare (U.K.), Hoffman-La-Roche (Switzerland), Illumina, Inc. (U.S.), PerkinElmer, Inc. (U.S.) and Thermo Fisher Scientific, Inc. (U.S.) [1]. The LOC market value is expected to increase from USD 4.23 billion in 2016 to USD 7.95 billion by year 2022 [2]. Hence, the potential for commercialization of microfluidics solutions is huge. For instance, the commercializations of the LOC technologies include early dengue infection diagnostic kid (SD BIOLINE Dengue Duo, Korea), circulating cancer cell isolation system by Clearbridge Biomedics (SG), and rapid measurement of human tears osmolarity by Tearlab (U.S), just to name a few. The successful development and commercialization of these LOC portable clinical biosensors and point of care diagnostics devices would benefits the end-users or consumers themselves in homecare settings or at hospitals, and also people who are working in diagnostic laboratories, and academic & research institutes.


In this course, you will be given a comprehensive introduction to Labs on Chip and the fundamentals of microfluidics. Current LOC applications, the advantages and disadvantages, and current state of the art will be discussed in details. Furthermore, the fundamentals of microfluidics, such as the Navier-Stokes equation, scaling theorem, and laminar flow, will be presented. Also, you will be taught the common LOC prototyping techniques such as photolithography, 3D printing, and paper microfluidics. Finally, the course ends with a hand on session and discussion on the future outlook of LOC.

The course is structured for the understanding of the following concepts of lab on chip:

  • Microfluidics flow characteristics
  • Applications of lab on chip
  • Fabrication methods
  • Challenges and future outlook


The course will be carried out in the following sections:

1) Introduction to Lab on Chip

  • Introduction to microfluidics technologies
  • Advantages and disadvantages
  • Current state of art
  • Commercialization potential

2) Fundamentals of microfluidics

  • Laminar flow
  • Navier-Stokes equation
  • Scaling theorem

3) Current LOC applications

  • Immunoassay
  • Bacteria detection
  • DNA purification and PCR
  • Cell sorting
  • Flow cytometry
  • Rapid disease diagnosis (such as malaria and cancer detection)
  • Organ-on-a-chip

4) Lab on Chip prototyping techniques:

  • Photolithography (SU8, PDMS, etching)
  • 3D printing
  • Polymer hot embossing
  • Paper microfluidics

5) Hands on session / experience lab on chip

6) Conclusion and future outlook

Who should attend

Engineers who are interested in microfluidics applications. Life science researchers and business marketing executives who intend to explore opportunities in using lab on chip for biomedical point-of-care applications.

Trust the experts


Marcos joined the School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering on 1 June 2011 as an Assistant Professor. He graduated with BEng (First Class Hons) and MEng degrees in Mechanical Engineering from the Nanyang Technological University in 2003 and 2005, respectively. He then went for his doctoral s...


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