Microfluidic Genetic Analysis (MGA)

PI Institution IMAT Award Type
James Landers University of Virginia R33

James Landers, professor of chemistry and mechanical engineering, and associate professor of pathology, was recognized with the 2008 Innovation Award from the Association for Laboratory Automation (ALA) for his novel Microfluidic Genetic Analysis (MGA) technology.

Landers' unique device resembles a common microscope slide, but it houses the analytical tools of an entire laboratory. Vastly complex and distinct procedures take place within millimeters of one another in tiny troughs that are etched into the chip. Minute tissue or blood samples are placed into the chip and electric charge is applied to the samples—for electrophoresis—to separate out particular sections of DNA based on what type of diagnosis is needed. Once the DNA is separated, it is replicated on one portion of the chip and then pushed to yet another area to be screened for irregularities. 

This lab-on-a-chip technology may enable rapid detection of cancer and infectious diseases, and at a fraction of the cost of current tests. Research conducted with Landers’ lab-on-a-chip prototype (published in December 2006 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science) demonstrated its effectiveness for detecting bacteria based infections in mice and humans within only 30 minutes, reducing the analysis time by almost two orders of magnitude.