Levich Institute Seminar Announcement, 12/07/2010
Tuesday, 12/07/2010
2:00 PM
Steinman Hall, Room #312
(Chemical Engineering Conference Room)

Professor Todd Thorsen
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Department of Mechanical Engineering

"Microfluidic Devices for Medicine"


In recent years, microfluidics has demonstrated novel methods of studying and culturing cells. Microfluidics is a rapidly growing field of biotechnology, where fluid samples in the nanoliter to microliter range may be manipulated in microfabricated channels in a manner analogous to the control of electrical signals in a microprocessor to automate complex biological and chemical laboratory procedures. Fluid flow at these small length scales is laminar, which presents both advantages (precise fluid control, reduced sample volumes, ability to perform biochemical processes in parallel, sample isolation) and certain tradeoffs (difficulties in fluid transport, mixing and surface chemistry) when adapting this technology to miniaturize and automate biological protocols. In this talk, I will discuss recent advances in my laboratory in the design of microfluidic devices for bacterial and mammalian cell culture. Taking a bottom-up approach, I will begin the talk with a discussion of the need for fluid dynamics modeling in device design, and conclude with some examples of some integrated platforms for applications in medicine. With an emphasis on the design and development of microfluidic devices with potential clinical applications, our work on the development of devices for monitoring the health and suitability of embryos for in vitro fertilization and for the profiling of cancer cells for drug inhibition studies will be highlighted.

  • MIT Lincoln Laboratory Staff Member, Advanced Silicon Technology Group July 2009 - present
  • MIT Department of Mechanical Engineering Associate Professor July 2008 - July 2009
  • MIT Department of Mechanical Engineering Assistant Professor July 2002 - July 2008


Microscale fluid mechanics, programmable microfluidic devices for molecular and cell biology, droplets and colloids