In order to improve our project design, we created some opportunities to exchange ideas with company, professors, iGEM teams and senior students in the form of workshops and interviews.Most importantly, we conduct a CCC project for studying the cognitive gap between the public and scientific communities as a social research.
Microfluidic Chip Operation Optimization
In August, we visited a company, Universal Analytical & Testing Instruments Ltd. in Guangzhou. During the visit, we discussed about the optimization procedure of the microfluidic chip. One of the key limiting parameters is the encapsulation rate of chip. They proposed that we could adjust the pressure thresholds and cell concentration to increase the encapsulation rate. After the application of the ideas, it actually helped us to get closer to our goal. The encapsulation rate has a 5-fold increase comparing to our original protocol.
Dolomite Microfluidics in UK
At the same time, we contact Dolomite Microfluidic in UK through email for trouble shooting. The fiber coming from liquid and atmosphere often block our microfluidic chip and are very hard to remove, which is a disaster. This problem has been bothering us for a long time. We communicated with a senior engineer who provided us some hints of solutions. We then improved our protocol for cleaning the chip and filtering the biomaterial before use.
We cooperated with Prof. Xin Cheng’s lab to build our novel micro-well system for biological application. One of our team members participated his lab to learn the fabrication of microfluidic chip. Dr. Chunhui Wu is our technician who helped us to operate the equipment. We had haphazard workshops with Cheng Lab to discuss the basic principle in Material Science and improvement of our design and experience. Most interestingly, we are open to discuss the potential biological applications of microfluidic chip. We have learned a lot from workshops and fabrication process of chips.
We also consulted Prof. Yanqing Tian, a professor in Material Sciences who has research experiences in biomaterials. Therefore, we held an interview with him to consult biocompatibilities between cells and liquid reagents we used in our design. He gave us lots of useful advice for the selection of biomaterials and reagents.
Exchanging Ideas of Microfludics
On 16th, Sep 2018, we held an online interview with iGEM Team XMU-China. XMU-China made an introduction about the design of their microfluidic system. Their core design is to set up a centrifugation disk to detect the single strand DNAs as biomarkers for diseases in a cell-free system. We were interested in the basic physical principle of the flow parameters in the centrifugal force-driven microfluidic chip. Moreover, we had some communication on the modeling and wiki design.
Exchanging Ideas of Experimental Design
Our ideas first came up in the group meeting with Prof. Wei Chen during discussing the technique of Single-Cell RNA sequencing via microfluidic system as a high-throughput method. Then, we were thinking about whether the technique can be applied not only within cells but among cells. That is the original idea of the project which points out the source of a novel idea.
Integrated Research in China with Mr. Yuan.
From March to October, we had fantastic conversations with teams and professors—especially Mr. Yuan from the university’s Art & Humanity department. Through these collaborations, we have benefited from aspects including the generation of the idea of our CCC project, the comparison we made between the public and the researchers, things we should focus on when presenting our project etc. Here, we show briefly the time when we have made significant modifications on our CCC project. To see the details of our CCC project, please click here!