Meet our board member Daniel T. Chiu
Interview of our board member, Daniel T. Chiu:
Daniel has been Professor of Chemistry and Bioengineering at the University of Washington in Seattle, USA since 2006. Member/Chair of numerous advisory and review panels for government and industry, he is a pioneer in the field of single-cell biology and an expert in microfluidics.
- Could you please explain the principal focus of your research?
Our research is quite broad. Our technical expertise lies in the development of new types of microdevices, optical instruments, and polymer nanomaterials. For each of these technical areas, we have translated our research into products that others can readily access and use. We tend to focus on a specific biomedical need, identify the limitations of current methodologies, then develop the necessary tools that offer researchers or clinicians a new way to look at their problems.
- Could you describe how the field of single-cell biology has changed over the past decade and what you believe its future role will be in medicine?
The field of single-cell biology has changed quite dramatically over the past decade, driven both by technology and by a biological appreciation of the importance of obtaining information at the single-cell level. Some fields have focused on single-cell biology and have employed single-cell techniques for decades, such as the use of flow cytometry to study different types of immune cells or the use of micropipette to manipulate individual embryos or to study individual neurons. But in the past decade, we witnessed a flurry of new tool developments, especially in genomics, that have enabled high-throughput studies of a large population of single cells with unprecedented sensitivity and resolution. I think this trend will continue, particularly as we enter the era of precision medicine.
- You are an expert in microfluidics, the handling and use of very small volumes of liquids. What are the main advantages of using microfluidic tools in cell biology?
Microfluidics is a very useful tool. The advantages it offers depend very much on the application. For some applications, such as in drug screening, it may be the ability to use small volumes of reagents and the high-throughput that this approach can offer. For other applications, such as in point-of-care diagnostics, it may be the possibility to integrate multiple functions on the same microfluidic chip. In the context of single-cell biology, the ability to create a large array of compartmentalized volumes via microfluidics has proven to be highly useful and advantageous.
- You have been a board member since 2017. Why did you join Fluicell’s Board?
People. It all boils down to believing in the people who will make Fluicell a great company. Fluicell has unique technical competencies and IP, but it is the people behind Fluicell who will help it adapt to changes in the field and drive its long-term growth into a great company.
- Where do you see Fluicell in five years?
BioPen and Dynaflow are both great products and also quite unique. But in 5 years, I think Fluicell will bring to market new capabilities in cell printing, which is a rapidly growing area with tremendous opportunities.