(307e) The Unlikely Marriage – Microplumbing and Developmental Systems Biology

Lu, H., Georgia Institute of Technology

Engineered micro systems are advantageous for addressing questions in many fields of biology. Micro technologies provide the appropriate length scale for investigating molecules, cells, and small organisms; moreover, one can also take advantage of unique phenomena associated with small-scale flow and field effects, as well as unprecedented parallelization and automation to gather quantitative and large-scale data about complex biological systems. We are interested in such designs to answer questions in systems neuroscience, developmental biology, and cell biology that are difficult using conventional techniques. We show microfluidic systems coupled with artificial intelligence for automated high-resolution imaging and high-throughput genetic screens in C. elegans, and chips for imaging embryos, cell aggregates, and individual cells for developmental and functional studies.  Our methods enable such systems level studies 100-1000 times faster than traditionally done, and in many occasions yield unique quantitative data that cannot be obtained otherwise. We foresee applying these technologies to additional genetic or drug screens to identify more fundamental biological mechanisms and potential therapeutics in many contexts to than previously possible.