From Music to Microfluidics

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    I got this cool CD from a gene sequencing startup today.

    Sony is repurposing media, as the digital hybrid vehicle transitions to pure code. From music to data to DNA.

    Specifically, Sony is entering the bio-research market with their experience and excess capacity in digital discs, with high-aspect ratio wells and posts.

    I wondered if these test structures were just a cheap substrate or a spinning media as well. The CD format is used for active fluidics as well: it eliminates pumps and valves, and one can modulate the flow to mixing, reagent and waste chambers at outer regions by varying the speed of rotation.

    And I heard an interesting application of these spinning discs today. Prof. Madou at UC Irvine was investigating what happens to life forms when launched into space. He used a worm that activates genes for a fluorescent green protein under stress conditions. He used microfluidic discs spun at various angular velocities and accelerations, and the worms were stressed after some speed threshold. But when he gave them prozac mixed in the food in the wells of the disc, they would stop stressing out, even in the highest of centrifuging velocities. He turned some of his research towards tests for the efficacy of certain drugs.

    Mr Kiki, Dani.S., RRNeal, avlxyz, and 6 other people added this photo to their favorites.

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    1. ~Reshma~ 26 months ago | reply

      Thank goodness you're back to regularly scheduled programming, Steve! ;-) I still have a single raised eyebrow from your previous cat wedding upload.

    2. jurvetson 26 months ago | reply

      heh... I was wondering how that might go down... =)

      - secret cocktail for the space program?

      Lab-Boy: Yes, this is an Amic test bed, not meant for spinning.

      - not sure, but in their ppt, Sony brags about the pit depth of Blue-ray vs CDs as an advantage. They also have nano imprint litho capabilities.

      Sony DACD

    3. ~Reshma~ 26 months ago | reply

      Oh, didn't go down well at all. I am in the minority, but while I love cats (had many growing up and trying to woo a cat for part-time pet for 2 months now), I balked. To put things in context, you're listed among "Inspirational people" likes on my FB page. The only other person on the list is also a Steve J., only less famous than you. ;-)

    4. vennettaj 26 months ago | reply

      somehow what i read was that prozac helps levitation..

    5. Broken Toy Shop 26 months ago | reply

      You could reasonably say prozac helps levitation, if you are being loose with some concepts.

    6. vennettaj 26 months ago | reply

      that one for sure, yes :)
      (if i understood correctly)

    7. solerena 26 months ago | reply

      maybe Sony will win this battle... music not much (thanks to Apple)

    8. seatonsnet 26 months ago | reply

      I'm still wondering how Steve managed to dress up two cats in heat. I think this must be a first of some sort.

    9. jgury 26 months ago | reply

      All these German names, you know it must be a good, and with full pdf links ....

    10. jgury 26 months ago | reply

      "Growing Worms in Space
      Changing course drastically, he then shared with the group research that led to a paper he published in the Journal of Genetics last year. The work, originally contracted by NASA, involved spinning tiny worms called C. elegans, which are about 2 millimeters long, onto a compact disc. The worms, which were the only creatures to survive the space shuttle Columbia disaster, provide valuable information on aging and other reactions in space, Madou said, and NASA was looking for ways to grow them in orbit.

      He formatted a CD with separate chambers in which to grow the worms, feed them and eliminate waste material. Spinning the CD creates centrifugal forces which allow fluids to move from one chamber to another. The worms are fed E. coli and when the disc is spun, the waste is eliminated. The discs have room for several distinct colonies, allowing researchers to vary conditions in their experiments. And because they are self-replicating, one worm can generate 1,000 worms in a matter of days.

      An additional experiment involved controlling the revolutions per minute – which on a CD is about 7,000. These revolutions increase the G forces, allowing scientists to study the worms’ genetics and physiology in hyper-gravity. Madou said the worms’ sense of smell, response, appetite, and muscle structure remained intact at 100 Gs. “You can see these are damn strong worms,” he said, displaying his results.

      But researchers determined the worms were accumulating fat, leading to the deduction that they were stressed by the hyper-gravity. Prozac, however, reversed the physiological signs of stress, and because the worms share certain physiological processes with humans, they could be used to study new drugs, Madou concluded."

    11. Astrocatou 26 months ago | reply

      Seems to me we have enough worms right down here...

      Its probably ? $5K a head ( tail ?) to launch them...on CD's or even freeze dried...
      The whole thing with giving them drugs sounds to me like an over funded research slot...
      At NASA and possibly Pfizer

      (runs and hides)

    12. jgury 26 months ago | reply

      Naaahhh. Bring on the mutant PCR template optimized micro fab DADC space worms!

    13. Astrocatou 26 months ago | reply

      What was that Churchill quote...?

    14. jgury 26 months ago | reply

      We are all worms. But I believe that I am a glow-worm.

    15. Midnite Da Masta 22 months ago | reply

      I thought I'd let you know I liked your photo so much I've added it to my Rap Artist Development page on my website.(The Web's Largest Learn How Too Rap FREE Guide!!)

      Thanks for the wonderful photo!!

    16. jgury 22 months ago | reply

      Microfluidics is going to be big in Rap lyrics.
      Spinin rhymes with MY-CROW space worm HOES!

    17. jurvetson 22 months ago | reply


      CC reuse is like a speakerboxxx full of chocolates; you never know what you're gonna get

      Screen Shot 2012-07-09 at 9.30.00 AM

    18. jgury 22 months ago | reply

      YO, Big cash spin micro worm hoe bitches! Get 'em happy with my Prozack - Keep those micro hoe hands offa my stack!

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