Posted by: Dan | February 10, 2007

Microfabrication Technologies for Life Science

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Entry #6 for the week of science
Journal articles aren’t the only things that scientists should be well-read on; there are various specialized textbooks at the campus library that I check out from time to time for desk reference as well. Recently, I picked up Lab-on-Chips for Cellomics, edited by Helene Andersson and Albert van den Berg. Granted, the title makes me groan: the -omics suffix is a little overused in the post-genomic world. The table of contents provides a better glance at the breadth of topics approached.

I’m particularly interested in three chapters (7, 10 and 11). Mechanical manipulation and analysis of cells using microstructures is treated with various creative examples in chapter 7 by Chris Chen et al.; the potential of stem cells in combination with microstructures is treated in chapter 10 by Dave Beebe et al.; while an interesting new trend to analyze intracellular phenomena is presented in chapter 11 by Klavs Jensen et al.

The areas attended to in this book are indeed hot topics in the burgeoning field of nanobiotechnology. Micro- and nano-fabrication processes developed by the microprocessor industry make it possible for cell biologists to measure picoNewton-scale forces exerted by individual cells (those are really really small forces), and better examine the generation of traction in motile cells. They’re also making it possible to precisely control the chemical environments that surround cells in culture, which is especially useful for studying chemotaxis. And there are many other applications.

Add this one to my Amazon list of textbook references for cell biology.


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