The 4th annual SoCal Micro & Nanofluidics Symposium will be held at the University of California Santa Barbara this Thursday and Friday, August 24-25, 2017. The symposium brings together students and faculty from across the University of California system.
“This symposium is the first of its kind to get every student from every participating group together, regardless of specialty. The point is cross-pollination,” says Sumita Pennathur, Professor of Mechanical Engineering at UCSB. “Science is about ideas crashing together and people working together. We want to teach our students early in their careers to get inspired by each other and solve problems together.”
Three years ago, Professors Dino Di Carlo (UCLA), Elliot Hui (UC Irvine), and Sumita Pennathur (UC Santa Barbara) started a grassroots effort to collaborate across campuses, devoting their own funds to found the symposium.
“The first symposium was better than we could have ever expected,” says Dino Di Carlo, Professor of Bioengineering at UCLA. “It turned our labs into a vibrant, coherent community that spanned Southern California. Our students ended up starting new projects, going back and forth between campuses, and taking ownership of their scientific future.”
This year, Aline Microfluidics Solutions and the California Nanosystems Institute at UCSB has sponsored the event, providing awards to students based on the quality of their scientific presentations. Speakers spanning mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, chemistry, neuroscience, and bioengieering will present their work and discuss the future of micro and nanofluidics in biotechnology and medicine.
“This is the model we want to promote in the biomedical sciences,” says Bridget Queenan, Associate Director of the UCSB Brain Initiative and research director of the UCSB Nanolab. “The human body is mostly water. To understand it, in both health and disease, we need people with knowledge and expertise in the fundamentals of fluid dynamics, microfluidics, and how ions and molecules behave in solution. It’s fantastic to have a community of researchers with this expertise in basic science exploring the implications for human health.”
“We are proud of how our groups have come together,” says Elliot Hui, Associate Professor of Biomedical Engineering at UC Irvine. “There is a tremendous amount of important work to be done to improve human health with these micro and nanotechnologies. We know our students are capable of changing the world and we can’t wait to expand this community to other groups across the UC system.”