Recent improvements in genomics and proteomics connected to the great improvement of micro and nano-technologies open very interesting perspectives in the rich and strategic field of therapy and diagnostic for biomedical, pharmacological and agro-industrial applications. Therefore, the development of highly integrated devices able to rapidly and automatically perform thousands of complex biochemical analysis is strongly needed. Furthermore, the evident limits of nowadays technologies (cost, difficulty of automation, low sensitivity, accuracy and precision for quantitative methods) are hampering the development of applications. Recent scientific and technological developments in many different fields such as microelectronics, micro and nano-machining for Micro-Electro-Mechanical Systems (MEMS) and Nano-Electro-Mechanical Systems (NEMS), materials and surface science (in particular related to interactions between inorganic materials and biological molecules), computing and genomics and proteomics are extremely promising in terms of innovative technological applications for DNA, RNA, proteins, other biological molecules and cell analysis. Indeed, the aforementioned technological breakthroughs will have an important social and economical relevance that must be underlined.
The global objective of this research project is the development of advanced microfluidic devices for genomics, post-genomics, proteomics and molecular analysis. The solutions we design introduce great improvements compared to the existing ones in terms of sensitivity, cost reduction, speed, predisposition to automation, reliability and repeatability.
In particular, we are developing different modules for extraction/purification of DNA, amplification through PCR and hybridization/detection through traditional fluorescence approach or through innovative approaches (integration with micro-cantilevers or Surface Electromagnetic Waves, as an example). These modules have been developed, at an early stage, with traditional microelectronic and micromechanical materials such as silicon, glass and metals and they have been assembled in a hybrid solution through polymeric interconnections.
Several material properties of silicon and glass make them very attractive materials for use in microfluidic systems; however, the cost of producing systems in silicon or glass is driving the seeking of other materials. Commercial manufacturers of microfluidic devices see many benefits in employing polymers that include reduced cost and simplified manufacturing procedures, particularly when compared to glass and silicon. An additional benefit that is extremely attractive is the wide range of available polymer materials which allows the manufacturer to choose materials properties suitable for their specific application.
Further improvements are currently involving several aspects of this first solution:
- application of polymeric materials (PDMS, COC, PC, PMMA, ...) in substitution of the standard pair silicon/glass, to be patterned and defined in their properties through hot embossing or casting in situ on master devices produced thanks to the facilities of the research groups involved in the project;
- introduction of more advanced (in terms of sensitivity and resolution) detection techniques based on three solutions actually under study: microcantilevers to be used as microbalances, electrochemical luminescence (ECL) and enhanced luminescence emission through SERS (Surface Enhanced Raman Spectroscopy) effect or the integration of nanostructured waveguides for fluorescence DNA analysis (Surface Electromagnetic Waves).
Currently also applications in hybridisation arrays are under study. An important issue is the control of the surface properties which can be modified through wet or dry processing.
The research units involved in the Latemar Laboratory (www.latemar.polito.it), are able to adequately cover all the multidisciplinary aspects regarding the development of the cited systems. They also grant scientific excellence together with the availability of technological platforms, scientific instruments and logistic organization, needed to operate on the project subjects, from fundamental research to the design of new devices of diagnostic and clinical interest, from the laboratory validation to the prototype fabrication.
Tel. +39 011 564 7355
Partners and Projects
"LAboratorio di Tecnologie Elettrobiochimiche Miniaturizzate per l'Analisi e la Ricerca" (LATEMAR)
(Progetto FIRB 2005-2009)
Olivetti I-Jet, Loc. Le Vieux, 11020 Arnad (AO), Italy;
Societa di Ricerca "Tecnobiomedica" S.p.A.
Universita degli Studi di Bologna
ITC-IRST - Divisione di Chimica Fisica delle Superfici e Interfacce (Trento)
Clean NT Lab-on-chip del Parco Scientifico e Tecnologico per l'Ambiente di Torino (Envipark)
Universita degli Studi di Verona
Universita degli Studi di Viterbo
Universita degli Studi di Brescia - Facolta di Ingegneria
Universita degli Studi di Brescia - Facolta di Medicina
Universita Cattolica del Sacro Cuore - Sede di Piacenza
"AUDAX - Automation of a Device based on APEX technology"
FP7, MANUNET ERA-Net, Transnational Call 2008
Asper Biotech (Estonia)
"CHARMED SU-8 - New functional SU8 photoresist for Life Science and Nanomedicine applications"
Italy-Israel R&D Cooperation Program
"APEX protocol implementation on a Lab-on-a-chip for SNPs detection"
S. Marasso, G. Canavese, S. Lobartolo, M. Cocuzza, A. Ferrarini, E. Giuri, D. Perrone, M. Quaglio, A. Ricci, I. Vallini
Microelectronics Engineering, 85 (2008), 1326-1329 (doi:10.1016/j.mee.2007.12.024)
"Evaluation of different PDMS interconnection solutions for silicon, pyrex and COC microfluidic chips"
G. Canavese, E. Giuri, S.L. Marasso, D. Perrone, M. Quaglio, M. Cocuzza, C.F. Pirri
J. Micromech. Microeng., 18 (2008) 055012
"A Multilevel Lab On Chip platform for DNA analysis"
S. L. Marasso, E. Giuri, G. Canavese, R. Castagna, M. Quaglio, I. Ferrante, D. Perrone, M. Cocuzza
Biomedical Microdevices, Vol. 13, Issue 1 (2011), pag. 19 (doi: 10.1007/s10544-010-9467-5)
"Elastomeric nanocomposite based on Carbon Nanotubes for Polymerase Chain Reaction device"
M. Quaglio, S. Bianco, R. Castagna, M. Cocuzza, C.F. Pirri
Microelectronic Engineering, 2011, accepted for publication, doi:10.1016/j.mee.2011.01.032
"Cost efficient master fabrication process on copper substrates"
S. Marasso, G. Canavese, M. Cocuzza
Microelectronic Engineering, 2011, accepted for publication
Italian patent deposited (28/09/2009): n. TO2009A000735
Assignee: Polytechnic of Turin and CNR-INFM
"SISTEMA A VENTOSA PER SIGILLATURA REVERSIBILE DI DISPOSITIVI MICROFLUIDICI POLIMERICI ELASTOMERICI" ("Suction cap system for the reversible sealing of elastomeric microfluidic devices").
Italian patent deposited (25/11/2009): n. TO2009A000915
Assignee: Polytechnic of Turin, CNR-INFM, University of Trieste, Biodiversity S.p.A.
" DISPOSITIVO MICROFLUIDICO, PARTICOLARMENTE PER LA RIVELAZIONE DI VARIANTI GENICHE" ("Microfluidic device, namely for the detection of genetic mutations").
Italian patent deposited (16/03/2010): n. TO2010A000196
Assignee: Polytechnic of Turin and CNR-INFM
"DISPOSITIVI MICROFLUIDICI PER APPLICAZIONE IN CAMPO BIOMEDICALE, FABBRICATI IN MATERIALE POLIMERICO COMPOSITO" ("Microfluidic devices for application in the biomedical field, made of composite polymeric materials").
Italian patent deposited (29/10/2010): n. TO2010A000865
Assignee: Polytechnic of Turin, Bruno Kessler Foundation and Matteo Cocuzza
"PURIFICAZIONE ED AMPLIFICAZIONE DI ACIDI NUCLEICI IN UN DISPOSITIVO MICROFLUIDICO COMPRENDENTE SUPERFICI DI POLIDIMETILSILOSSANO" ("Nucleic Acids purification and amplification in a microfluidic device with PDMS surfaces").