Course: BIOEN 455: BioMEMS

Credits: 4

Instructor: Albert Folch

Texts and Supplemental Materials: Introduction to BioMEMS (Albert Folch, CRC Press).

Computer Use: None

UW Catalog Description: Introduction to BioMEMS. State-of-the-art techniques in patterning biomolecules, machining three-dimensional microstructures and building microfluidic devices. Various biomedical problems that can be addressed with microfabrication technology and the engineering challenges associated with it. Bi-weekly labs.

Instructor’s Detailed Course Description:

This course introduces students to the techniques and applications of microfabrication technology for biomedical applications. The topics include:

  1. Scaling in biology: basic review of the various sizes, time, and energy scales found in biological systems from organisms to atoms;
  2. Microfabrication techniques: extensive review of the fundamentals of microfabrication technology: photolithography, electron beam lithography, micromachining, micromolding, and soft lithography;
  3. Micropatterning non-conventional materials: Review of self-assembled monolayers, chemical grafting of biomolecules and thin polymeric layers; approaches to patterning those materials as well as cells);
  4. Microelectromechanical sensing of cell behavior: Introduction to bioelectricity, interaction of cells with electric fields, microphysiometer;
  5. Microengineered biosensors: Introduction to massively parallel measurements, implantable electrodes, microtweezers, immunosensors;
  6. Microengineering fluid flows: Introduction to microfluidics, properties of biological fluids in microchannels, mathematical modeling of fluid flow;
  7. Tissue microengineering: Introduction to biomimetic substrates, microscaffolds, cellular co-cultures;
  8. Microengineering in cell biology: Microfabrication techniques that enable the control of cell-substrate, cell-cell, and cell-medium interactions;
  9. Microengineering for biotechnology: Introduction to enzymatic assays, DNA microarrays, optical detection methods amenable to miniaturization;
  10. The frontiers of BioMEMS: Nanolithography, biomimetic nanodevices. Laboratory exercises will reinforce critical concepts provided in lectures.

Prerequisites by Course: BIOEN 316

Required or Elective: Elective

Specific Outcomes: By the end of this course, students will be able to:

  1. Critically read a scientific paper
  2. Manufacture a microdevice by photolithography and micromolding
  3. Create protein and cellular micropatterns with a microfluidic device
  4. Interface microdevices with cells and tissue
  5. Tailor the microenvironment of single cells
  6. Manipulate or measure biomolecules on the micron scale

Outcomes Addressed by this Course:

B. An ability to design and conduct experiments, as well as to analyze and interpret data.

  • All the labs require that the students, in teams, prepare a microdevice/substrate/pattern of their choice for the subsequent lab, and that the students report the problems/advantages associated with their device.

D. An ability to function on multidisciplinary teams.

  • All laboratory exercises involve students working in teams. The teams must collectively build the devices or setups and troubleshoot. Reports are sent individually.

E. An ability to identify, formulate, and solve engineering problems.

  • Lectures typically present a microfabrication-based solution to a problem, which is presented as a challenge ahead of the technological solution; the students are actively engaged in a discussion to identify other approaches to solve the problem.

G. An ability to communicate effectively.

  • The students are engaged by the instructor to participate in lecture discussions. In all written exercises, clarity in writing is part of the grade.

 Topics Covered:

  1. Biologically-relevant scales
  2. Fundamentals of miniaturization technology
  3. Extension of traditional microfabrication techniques to pattern novel materials such as cells and biomolecules
  4. Bioelectrical measurements on the microscale
  5. Biosensors
  6. Microfluidics
  7. Tissue engineering on the microscale
  8. Applications of microfabrication technology to cell biology
  9. Applications of microfabrication techniques to biotechnology
  10. Novel, far-reaching applications of microtechnology

Laboratory Projects:

Laboratory exercises will reinforce critical concepts provided in lectures. Topics include:

  • Lab 1: photolithography of a simple pattern with SU-8 photoresist;
  • Lab 2: micromolding of the pattern from lab 1;
  • Lab 3: microstamping of fluorescently-labeled protein pattern from Lab 2;
  • Lab 4: selective cellular adhesion on the protein pattern from Lab 3;
  • Lab 5: microfluidic patterning of fluorescently-labeled protein pattern from Lab 2;
  • Lab 6: creation of cellular micropattern on substrate from Lab 5;
  • Lab 7: Laminar flow in microchannels, microfluidic valves, and microfluidic multiplexers.

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