As a National Science Foundation (NSF) Industry/University Cooperative Research Center (I/UCRC), the Center for Advanced Design and Manufacturing of Integrated Microfluidics (CADMIM) will develop design tools and manufacturing technologies for integrated microfluidics targeting cost-effective, quick, and easy diagnosis of the environment, agriculture, and human health.
Diagnostics are needed everywhere – the environment, agriculture, food and water supplies, and ultimately for human health and safety. Ubiquitous diagnostics currently are not feasible, however, due to inefficient, cumbersome, and/or expensive existing methods. Yet rising healthcare costs and at-risk populations create a need for cheaper, widely available diagnoses and treatments. Results of millions of livestock screens for disease are not available for hours or days. Ocean and urban runoff assays rely on culture-based laboratory results that take days to acquire – too late to prevent beach closures. In each of these application areas, fluidic samples must be analyzed quickly, accurately, and with the lowest cost/test possible. The term “diagnosis,” literally “via knowledge,” can inform not only medicine, but virtually every facet of our lives. The natural and built environment, agriculture, food and water supplies, and human health call for increasingly sophisticated and frequent monitoring. Diagnostics have potential roles along entire chains of interconnected factors – environmental conditions influence agricultural practices and yields, which influence the availability and quality of food, which affect health, prices, and the nation’s economic status. Knowledge (or its absence) anywhere along the chain have effects downstream. If contamination goes undetected, for example, exports may be embargoed, products removed from shelves, resulting in economic losses.
The goal of CADMIM is advancing research and education on the science, engineering and applications of integrated microfluidic design and scalable production through dedicated, continuing industrial partnerships. This center has been devised to concentrate and deploy resources and people to launch a transformation in ubiquitous diagnostics comparable to the advances that led to the massive availability of inexpensive consumer electronics. The strategy for this grand challenge centers on mass-produced diagnostic devices equipped with microfluidic components, chip-sized devices with high sensitivities (nM – pM) and short reaction times (<1min) — capable of chemical analyses in miniaturized volumes (µl – pl). Despite the many academic laboratory advances to date, few microfluidic systems have comprehensive sample-to-answer capability.
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CADMIM is currently composed of 3 sites: University of California, Irvine (lead institution) University of Illinois at Chicago, and the University of Cincinnati. Together with the National Science Foundation (NSF) and our industrial members, this I/UCRC aims to develop low-power, automated, self-contained, mass-produced microdevices capable of multi-step biochemical assessments.
The expected outcomes of this center include:
- Effective, long‐term partnerships with industry.
- Bringing together a multi‐disciplinary team of researchers and institutions.
- Training the next generation of researchers and educators.
- Disseminating our acquired knowledge.
- Bringing ubiquitous diagnostic technologies to fruition for the benefit of society.
How CADMIM Works:
CADMIM is based on a shared portfolio of research projects that address the needs of the industry members. The center’s industry members comprise the Industrial Advisory Board (IAB), which works with the universities to define relevant fundamental research projects. The center thus addresses pre-competitive needs shared by the industrial members and allows these companies to access the expertise and talents of the center faculty and the world class facilities at center sites. In turn, the faculty and students involved in center projects gain the knowledge and experience necessary to facilitate the transition from academia to industry – both in terms of technologies and people.
In September 2012 UC Irvine and U. Cincinnati submitted a planning grant proposal to NSF for CADMIM. This proposal was selected for funding and we held a planning meeting at UC Irvine May 7 – 8, 2013. We submitted the full proposal for CADMIM in September 2013. We’ve been an official NSF I/UCRC since March 2014. In August 2016, Dr. Ian Papautsky (Center Co-Director) moved from U. Cincinnati to U. Illinois at Chicago. The second site of CADMIM transitioned with him to the U. Illinois at Chicago, with U. Cincinnati remaining as an affiliated site of the center. For more information about the NSF I/UCRC program and a list of the other I/UCRCs in the US, see here: http://www.nsf.gov/eng/iip/iucrc/
CADMIM is funded partially by the National Science Foundation and primarily by membership fees from our member companies. CADMIM was the first major initiative of the Micro/nano Fluidics Fundamentals Focus (MF3) Center, headquartered at the University of California, Irvine. Formed in 2006, MF3 performs fundamental micro/nano fluidic (MF) research to develop standardized MF integration processes and device technology. For more information: www.inrf.uci.edu/mf3