Company Logo

Emerging Technologies 2018 Session Listing

The program is subject to change in the weeks leading up to the conference. Check back here for the latest schedule, or follow us on Twitter External link symbol for real-time notice of updates to the program.

Session D4: Biotechnology and Biomedical Technologies

Start Time: 09:00, Friday, May 11
Room: Diamond Head
Chaired by Ross Walker, University of Utah (

  • 9:00 Edmond W.K. Young, University of Toronto (

    Transitioning biomicrofluidic systems from PDMS to plastics

    Cell-based microfluidic systems have emerged as important experimental tools in cell biology research because of their ability to mimic various aspects of the in vivo tissue microenvironments and be employed as different functional cell-based assays. Poly(dimethylsiloxane) (PDMS) is the most commonly used material for fabricating microfluidic devices, but it has previously been shown to absorb hydrophobic molecules and leach uncrosslinked oligomers. In contrast, thermoplastics are widely used in laboratory cultureware, but have faced challenges in being widely adopted for microfluidics because of a lack of simple methods to fabricate thermoplastic devices.


    To address this challenge, our research group has developed a selection of simple and accessible methods for fabricating cell-based microfluidic devices in thermoplastics. Methods include micromilling, hot embossing, and liquid-phase solvent bonding that are effective for various plastics commonly used for microfluidic devices such as polystyrene, acrylic, and cyclo-olefin polymers (COPs). Here, we describe the development of these thermoplastic microfabrication methods, compare and contrast the functional differences between plastic and PDMS devices in a cell biology context, and demonstrate advantages of plastic microfluidic systems in two separate biomedical applications, one for drug sensitivity testing in multiple myeloma, and one for studying biology of lung airways. These applications will offer concrete examples of how certain microfluidics applications can benefit from a transition away from PDMS and towards plastics.

  • 9:20 Fabio Cicoira, École Polytechnique de Montréal (

    Conducting polymers for flexible, stretchable and healable electronics

    Organic electronics, based on semiconducting and conducting polymers, have been extensively investigated in the past two decades and have found commercial applications in lighting panels, smartphone screens, and TV screens using organic light emitting diodes technology. Many other applications are foreseen to reach the commercial maturity in future in areas such as transistors, sensors and photovoltaics.


    Organic electronic devices, apart from consumer applications, are paving the path for key applications at the interface between electronics and biology. In such applications, organic polymers are very attractive candidates, due to their distinct properties of mechanical flexibility, self-healing and mixed conduction, i.e the ability to transport both electron/holes and ionic species.


    My group investigated the processing conditions leading to high electrical conductivity, long-term stability in aqueous media as well as robust mechanical properties of the conducting polymer poly(3,4-ethylenedioxythiophene) doped with polystyrenesulfonate (PEDOT:PSS), on rigid, flexible and stretchable substrates [1-3]. We have demonstrated that stretchable PEDOT:PSS films can be achieved by adding a fluorosurfactant to the film processing mixture and by pre-stretching the substrate during film deposition. We have achieved patterning of organic materials on a wide range of substrates, using orthogonal lithography, parylene patterning and pattern transfer [4-5]. Recently we have discovered that PEDOT:PSS films can be rapidly healed with water drops after being damaged with a sharp blade [6].


    My talk will deal with processing, characterization and patterning of conducting polymer films and devices for flexible, stretchable and healable electronics. I will particularly focus on the strategies to achieve films with optimized electrical conductivity and mechanical properties, on unconventional micro patterning on flexible and stretchable substrates, on the different routes to achieve films stretchability and self-healing.


    1. F. Cicoira et al. APL Mat. 3, 014911, 2015. 2. F. Cicoira et al. Appl. Phys. Lett. 107,053303, 2015. 3. F. Cicoira, et al. Appl. Phys. Lett. 111, 093701, 2017 4. F. Cicoira et al. Chem. Mater. 29, 3126-3132, 2017. 5. F. Cicoira et al. J. Mater. Chem. C 4, 1382—85, 2016. 6. F. Cicoira et al. Adv. Mater. 29, 1703098, 2017.

  • 9:40 Massimo De Vittorio, Università del Salento (

    Thin flexible piezoelectrics for health and energy

  • 10:00 Syed Kamrul Islam, University of Tennessee, Knoxville ( with I. Mahbub

    Low-power wireless wearable sensors: past trends and future directions

    In recent years, low-power wearable sensors have become a promising choice for advanced healthcare monitoring. Advancement of sensing technology fueled by prolific growth of wireless technologies facilitates continuous health monitoring of patients to detect disorders in the early stages of their progression. The next generation healthcare technologies will require continuous monitoring of vital information via wireless medium which will facilitate in-home care services preventing potential life-threatening events for the patient without requiring hospitalization. Wireless devices for monitoring of vital signs and other physiological parameters play a significant role in advancing the modern home-based healthcare applications. In general, biomedical signals have low frequency and thus require a low-data-rate transmitter for transmitting the data wirelessly. Unlike the traditional radios for cellular application, biomedical wireless devices do not require to transmit the data with high emission power as they are designed primarily for short-range communication. Most of these radios are either powered by the energy harvested from the ambient sources or tiny Li-polymer batteries. For such an energy constrained environment, the challenges lie in the design of a low-power radio which can sustain the short-range communication (~1-2 m) link for a long period of time without compromising the bit-error-rate (BER) requirement. The talk will include a discussion on various low- power circuit design techniques for biomedical sensors as well as recently published low-power radio architectures and approaches for wearable low-data-rate biomedical sensing applications. The current trend of smart cognitive radio that can sense the spectrum and transmit and receive the signal through the unoccupied channels by hopping into different frequencies will be elaborated in the talk. Finally, the talk will conclude with the discussion of future research directions towards the implementations of energy-efficient and spectrum efficient low-power radio modules suitable for various wearable sensing applications.

  • 10:20 Thomas Webster, Northeastern University (

    Design, fabricating, and commercializing in-the-body nano sensors: the future of health

    Synthetic materials used in medical devices today are typically composed of micron sized particles, grains, and/or fiber dimensions. Although human cells are on the micron scale, their individual components, e.g. proteins, are composed of nanometer features. By modifying only the nanofeatures on material surfaces without changing surface chemistry, it is possible to increase tissue growth of any human tissue by controlling the endogenous adsorption of adhesive proteins onto the material surface. In addition, our group has shown that these same nanofeatures and nano-modifications can reduce bacterial growth without using antibiotics, which may further accelerate the growth of antibiotic resistant microbes. Inflammation can also be decreased through the use of nanomaterials. Nanomedicine has been shown to stimulate the growth and differentiation of stem cells, which may someday be used to treat incurable disorders, such as neural damage. However, in moving beyond tissue engineering and medical devices, it is clear that for many diseases, we need real time monitoring of body health. In this manner, some of the same materials utilized above are being used to develop implantable sensors that can both monitor and heal diseased cells. This invited talk will highlight some of these advancements, particularly those approved by the FDA.

  • 10:40 Paul Li, Simon Fraser University (

    Microfluidic nanotechnology for analyzing proteins, nucleic acids and cells in biological samples

Gold Sponsors
Silver Sponsors
Bronze Sponsors


Sponsorship Opportunities

Support from our sponsors allows us to provide additional special events and networking opportunities during our conferences.