Paid Microfluidics PhD
- Part Time
Towards a flexible microfluidics: definition, design and fabrication of modular microfluidic biosystems to achieve rapid prototyping
Scientific fields: Bio-MEMS (Biomedical Electromechanical microsystems) , Nanostructured materials.
Keywords: microfluidic, hybrid materials, microfabrication, IVR, diagnostic devices, advanced characterizations, biocompatibility.
IVR (In Vitro drug release) tests are part of the pharmaceutical industry, aimed to quantify drug release kinetics during pharmaceutical development. Current IVR methodologies are resource intensive processes and consist of laborious, time-consuming and repetitive tasks. In addition, in vivo studies are needed to establish a correlation with the IVR tests.
As the price of drug development continues to soar, there is a great need for new approaches that can improve upon the predictive quality and operational efficiency of in vitro testing. We are developing an innovative model for IVR testing systems with microfluidics technology.
Our technology enables the creation of fully automated and miniaturised IVR testing systems which not only optimize resource management but also enable massive parallelization for tests with significant economies of scale. Furthermore, the precise control of experimental conditions and the very low volumes involved in microfluidics solutions match the requirements of 2D and 3D cell cultures as well as organs on a chip, which is key to narrowing the bridge between in vitro and in vivo environments. The goal of this new generation of cost-effective, biologically relevant IVR testing systems is to reduce in vivo testing and accelerate the pre-clinical drug development process.
In this context, the goal of the thesis will be to realize microfluidic devices offering a wide flexibility of applications. The versatility of these systems is crucial in a field where requirements are changing to suit the regulatory environment and the specificities of customers. To achieve this, research and development will be based on microfabrication techniques, to design and build basic units. Each unit will have a specific function. Prototypes or devices will be the assembly of such: functionalities will remain easily modulable by modifying the systems architecture.
This research project will address the below subjects:
- Interconnections: develop innovative solutions to increase flexibility and reliability of the systems. The fabrication process of the modules are based on microfluidic technics, a key to success in the device production is to realize reliable connections (fluidics, electricals, mechanicals) to ensure the right global performance (regarding biocompatibility). The future candidate will drive the scientific studies including also design and characterization: benchmarking of new materials and fabrication process.
- Biomicrosystems: Integration of elementary functions (flow, temperature, pressure measurement) The aim is to realize couplings between fluidics and electronics leading to greater measurement precision and better monolithic integration. This requires a broad knowledge of microfabrication processes and material properties. The development of electronic devices on plastic is a challenge in many applications: it includes the control of surface conditions, mastering of thin-film properties, the influence of size on physical properties (electromigration, laminar flow, diffusion of interfaces, thermal transfers ...). The purpose is to achieve a simple modular element that will be compatible with existing applications.
The student's work will begin with an extensive review of all existing technologies with regard to the objectives. This analysis will enable it to develop innovative manufacturing technology to produce basic devices with robust and reliable interconnections. Special attention will be given to photo structuring using hybrid organic-inorganic materials. Besides the advantage of achieving submicron resolutions, these materials are perfectly modular from the point of view of their bulk or surface properties simply by dealing with their composition. It thus becomes possible to design the material regarding to the desired function.
Then, the student will focus on the realization of the first modules and to the optimization of all the processes. He will have to implement the most relevant characterization tools at appropriate scales according to materials or devices.
Finally, the subject of this thesis being resolutely oriented towards the valorization, the student will be in charge of the prototype realization in strong interaction with the company (Medincell) .
The candidate will share his time between Medincell and the University of Montpellier (department "Matériaux Hybrides et Nanostructurés", platform POMM ) taking into account project priorities and available equipment.
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