Office of Research, UC Riverside
William Grover
Assistant Professor
Bioengineering
wgrover@ucr.edu
(951) 827-4311


IDBR: TYPE B: Microfluidic building blocks for bioinstrumentation

AWARD NUMBER
006656-002
FUND NUMBER
21238
STATUS
Closed
AWARD TYPE
3-Grant
AWARD EXECUTION DATE
4/5/2014
BEGIN DATE
4/2/2014
END DATE
6/30/2016
AWARD AMOUNT
$200,000

Sponsor Information

SPONSOR AWARD NUMBER
DBI-1353974
SPONSOR
NATIONAL SCIENCE FOUNDATION
SPONSOR TYPE
Federal
FUNCTION
Organized Research
PROGRAM NAME

Proposal Information

PROPOSAL NUMBER
14010084
PROPOSAL TYPE
New
ACTIVITY TYPE
Basic Research

PI Information

PI
Grover, William
PI TITLE
Other
PI DEPTARTMENT
Bioengineering
PI COLLEGE/SCHOOL
Bourns College of Engineering
CO PIs
Rodgers, Victor;

Project Information

ABSTRACT

An award is made to the University of California, Riverside to develop "microfluidic building blocks," a library of parts that can be connected to build custom microfluidic instruments quickly and easily. Microfluidics (the manipulation of fluids on the microliter scale) has enabled important applications in the biological and health sciences, but currently each of these applications uses a custom-made microfluidic "chip" designed and fabricated by a specialist trained in the art of microfabrication using costly and specialized equipment. This highly custom nature of microfluidics has slowed the spread of microfluidic technologies into new applications in the biological sciences. The "microfluidic building blocks" developed in this project enable non-experts to rapidly build custom instruments for their own research needs. Each block performs an elementary microfluidic function like valving, mixing, storing fluids, measuring cell size, or measuring optical density. Using standardized interfaces, the blocks can be literally "clicked together" to build a custom microfluidic instrument without specialized training or equipment. Through collaborations with colleagues in several different fields at UC Riverside and journal and conference presentations in their respective fields, microfluidic building blocks will be disseminated across the bioscience community.

By allowing any scientist or engineer to assemble custom microfluidic instruments without specialized training or equipment, microfluidic building blocks have the potential to accelerate research progress throughout science and engineering. In resource-limited areas, doctors and nurses could use a supply of microfluidic building blocks to construct diagnostic or therapeutic instruments tailored for their own unique needs. Additionally, as educational tools, microfluidic building blocks could enhance science and engineering curricula from grade school through university. By assembling blocks into working instruments that accomplish certain tasks, students can learn principles of physics, chemistry, and biology. In summary, microfluidic building blocks have the potential to both enhance existing research in science and technology and prepare the next generation of the STEM workforce.
(Abstract from NSF)