Professor Carolyn Ren—Kelley Lab Special Seminar

August 10, 2018 @ 1:00 pm – 2:00 pm
RS 412
164 College St
Toronto, ON M5S 3E2

Droplet Microfluidics for High Throughput Screening—Fundamentals and Applications

Carolyn Ren, Professor & Canada Research Chair, Lab-on-a-Chip Technology
Department of Mechanical & Mechatronics Engineering
University of Waterloo


Droplet-based two-phase microfluidics enables high throughput screening analysis by utilizing monodispersed pico- to nanoliter-sized droplets as mobilized test tubes.

Other advantages of droplet microfluidics over traditional high throughput technology include continuous flow offering continuous processing, minimized cross contamination benefiting from well encapsulated droplets, and rapid mixing due to three-dimensional flow occurring in droplets.

Both gas-liquid and two immiscible liquids (water and oil) systems have been employed to make liquid droplets in microfluidic platforms.

This talk only focuses on the system employing two immiscible liquids to generate droplets.

The first half of the talk will discuss fundamentals and physical modelling of droplet generation and droplet trafficking and sorting through channel network.

The second half will focus on electrical sensing and manipulation and imaging assisted manipulation of droplets.

In particular, capacitance sensing, microwave sensing/heating, and imaging assisted manipulation of individual droplets will be discussed.


Dr. Ren is a professor of Mechanical and Mechatronics Engineering at the University of Waterloo (UW) and holds the Canada Research Chair in Droplet Microfluidics and Lab-on-a-Chip Technology at UW.

She is directing Waterloo Microfluidics Laboratory focusing on advancing fundamental knowledge of microfluidics and developing Lab-on-a-Chip technologies which have significant impact on a wide range of applications.

Examples of her research applications span from material synthesis, to protein separation, single cell analysis and water quality sensing.

Dr. Ren has received several awards from the engineering and research community, including: being recognized as one of 20 leading innovators in Women of Innovation, appointment as Fellow of the Canadian Society of Mechanical Engineering, and an Early Research Award from the Ontario Ministry of Research and Innovation.