Special Issue "Feature Papers of Micromachines in Biology and Biomedicine 2021"

A special issue of Micromachines (ISSN 2072-666X). This special issue belongs to the section "B:Biology and Biomedicine".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 December 2021.

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Navid Kashaninejad
E-Mail Website1 Website2
Guest Editor
Queensland Micro- and Nanotechnology Centre, Griffith University, 4111 Brisbane, Australia
Interests: microfluidics; biomicrofluidics; lab-on-a-chip; tumour-on-a-chip
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

We are pleased to announce a new Special Issue entitled “Feature Papers of Micromachines in Biology and Biomedicine 2021”. In recent years, we have cooperated with some excellent scholars/scientific groups and published several very important high-level works, which have already been cited according to the data of Web of Science. We aim to introduce a new insight into science development or cutting-edge technology related to micromachines in the physics field, which will make a great contribution to the community.

This Special Issue will be a collection of high-quality papers from excellent scholars around the world. Both original research articles and comprehensive review papers are welcome. The papers will be published, free of charge, with full open access after peer review to benefit both authors and readers.

You are welcome to send short proposals for submissions of Feature Papers to our Editorial Office ([email protected]) before submission. They will be evaluated by Editors at first. Please note that selected full papers will still be subjected to a thorough and rigorous peer review.

We look forward to receiving your excellent work.

Prof. Dr. Nam-Trung Nguyen
Dr. Navid Kashaninejad
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Micromachines is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1800 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • BioMEMS
  • Miniaturized biosensors
  • Microarrays
  • DNA chips
  • PCR chips
  • Electronic noses
  • Organ-on-a-chip
  • Microfluidic cell culture
  • Point-of-care diagnostic chips
  • μ-TAS
  • Molecular imprinting
  • Tumor-on-a-chip
  • Microfluidic modeling and simulations
  • Applications in medicine, biomedical research, drug discovery, environment, food, health, security, and safety

Published Papers (10 papers)

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Research

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Article
Efficient Decellularization by Application of Moderate High Hydrostatic Pressure with Supercooling Pretreatment
by , and
Micromachines 2021, 12(12), 1486; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/mi12121486 (registering DOI) - 30 Nov 2021
Abstract
Decellularized tissues are considered superior scaffolds for cell cultures, preserving the microstructure of native tissues and delivering many kinds of cytokines. High hydrostatic pressure (HHP) treatment could remove cells physically from biological tissues rather than chemical methods. However, there are some risks of [...] Read more.
Decellularized tissues are considered superior scaffolds for cell cultures, preserving the microstructure of native tissues and delivering many kinds of cytokines. High hydrostatic pressure (HHP) treatment could remove cells physically from biological tissues rather than chemical methods. However, there are some risks of inducing destruction or denaturation of extracellular matrices (ECMs) at an ultrahigh level of HHP. Therefore, efficient decellularization using moderate HHP is required to remove almost all cells simultaneously to suppress tissue damage. In this study, we proposed a novel decellularization method using a moderate HHP with supercooling pretreatment. To validate the decellularization method, a supercooling device was developed to incubate human dermal fibroblasts or collagen gels in a supercooled state. The cell suspension and collagen gels were subjected to 100, 150, and 200 MPa of HHP after supercooling pretreatment, respectively. After applying HHP, the viability and morphology of the cells and the collagen network structure of the gels were evaluated. The viability of cells decreased dramatically after HHP application with supercooling pretreatment, whereas the microstructures of collagen gels were preserved and cell adhesivity was retained after HHP application. In conclusion, it was revealed that supercooling pretreatment promoted the denaturation of the cell membrane to improve the efficacy of decellularization using static application of moderate HHP. Furthermore, it was demonstrated that the HHP with supercooling pretreatment did not degenerate and damage the microstructure in collagen gels. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Papers of Micromachines in Biology and Biomedicine 2021)
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Article
A Cylindrical Molding Method for the Biofabrication of Plane-Shaped Skeletal Muscle Tissue
Micromachines 2021, 12(11), 1411; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/mi12111411 - 17 Nov 2021
Viewed by 285
Abstract
Muscle tissues can be fabricated in vitro by culturing myoblast-populated hydrogels. To counter the shrinkage of the myoblast-populated hydrogels during culture, a pair of anchors are generally utilized to fix the two ends of the hydrogel. Here, we propose an alternative method to [...] Read more.
Muscle tissues can be fabricated in vitro by culturing myoblast-populated hydrogels. To counter the shrinkage of the myoblast-populated hydrogels during culture, a pair of anchors are generally utilized to fix the two ends of the hydrogel. Here, we propose an alternative method to counter the shrinkage of the hydrogel and fabricate plane-shaped skeletal muscle tissues. The method forms myoblast-populated hydrogel in a cylindrical cavity with a central pillar, which can prevent tissue shrinkage along the circumferential direction. By eliminating the usages of the anchor pairs, our proposed method can produce plane-shaped skeletal muscle tissues with uniform width and thickness. In experiments, we demonstrate the fabrication of plane-shaped (length: ca. 10 mm, width: 5~15 mm) skeletal muscle tissue with submillimeter thickness. The tissues have uniform shapes and are populated with differentiated muscle cells stained positive for myogenic differentiation markers (i.e., myosin heavy chains). In addition, we show the assembly of subcentimeter-order tissue blocks by stacking the plane-shaped skeletal muscle tissues. The proposed method can be further optimized and scaled up to produce cultured animal products such as cultured meat. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Papers of Micromachines in Biology and Biomedicine 2021)
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Article
Fabrication of 3D Micro-Blades for the Cutting of Biological Structures in a Microfluidic Guillotine
Micromachines 2021, 12(9), 1005; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/mi12091005 - 24 Aug 2021
Viewed by 650
Abstract
Micro-blade design is an important factor in the cutting of single cells and other biological structures. This paper describes the fabrication process of three-dimensional (3D) micro-blades for the cutting of single cells in a microfluidic “guillotine” intended for fundamental wound repair and regeneration [...] Read more.
Micro-blade design is an important factor in the cutting of single cells and other biological structures. This paper describes the fabrication process of three-dimensional (3D) micro-blades for the cutting of single cells in a microfluidic “guillotine” intended for fundamental wound repair and regeneration studies. Our microfluidic guillotine consists of a fixed 3D micro-blade centered in a microchannel to bisect cells flowing through. We show that the Nanoscribe two-photon polymerization direct laser writing system is capable of fabricating complex 3D micro-blade geometries. However, structures made of the Nanoscribe IP-S resin have low adhesion to silicon, and they tend to peel off from the substrate after at most two times of replica molding in poly(dimethylsiloxane) (PDMS). Our work demonstrates that the use of a secondary mold replicates Nanoscribe-printed features faithfully for at least 10 iterations. Finally, we show that complex micro-blade features can generate different degrees of cell wounding and cell survival rates compared with simple blades possessing a vertical cutting edge fabricated with conventional 2.5D photolithography. Our work lays the foundation for future applications in single cell analyses, wound repair and regeneration studies, as well as investigations of the physics of cutting and the interaction between the micro-blade and biological structures. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Papers of Micromachines in Biology and Biomedicine 2021)
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Article
Loop-Mediated Isothermal Amplification in a Core-Shell Bead Assay for the Detection of Tyrosine Kinase AXL Overexpression
Micromachines 2021, 12(8), 905; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/mi12080905 - 30 Jul 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 624
Abstract
The upregulated expression of tyrosine kinase AXL has been reported in several hematologic and solid human tumors, including gastric, breast, colorectal, prostate and ovarian cancers. Thus, AXL can potentially serve as a diagnostic and prognostic biomarker for various cancers. This paper reports the [...] Read more.
The upregulated expression of tyrosine kinase AXL has been reported in several hematologic and solid human tumors, including gastric, breast, colorectal, prostate and ovarian cancers. Thus, AXL can potentially serve as a diagnostic and prognostic biomarker for various cancers. This paper reports the first ever loop-mediated isothermal amplification (LAMP) in a core-shell bead assay for the detection of AXL gene overexpression. We demonstrated simple instrumentation toward a point-of-care device to perform LAMP. This paper also reports the first ever use of core-shell beads as a microreactor to perform LAMP as an attempt to promote environmentally-friendly laboratory practices. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Papers of Micromachines in Biology and Biomedicine 2021)
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Article
Doxorubicin Anticancer Drug Monitoring by ds-DNA-Based Electrochemical Biosensor in Clinical Samples
Micromachines 2021, 12(7), 808; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/mi12070808 - 09 Jul 2021
Viewed by 551
Abstract
In this research, glassy carbon electrode (GCE) amplified with single-wall carbon nanotubes (SWCNTs) and ds-DNA was fabricated and utilized for voltammetric sensing of doxorubicin with a low detection limit. In this technique, the reduction in guanine signal of ds-DNA in the presence of [...] Read more.
In this research, glassy carbon electrode (GCE) amplified with single-wall carbon nanotubes (SWCNTs) and ds-DNA was fabricated and utilized for voltammetric sensing of doxorubicin with a low detection limit. In this technique, the reduction in guanine signal of ds-DNA in the presence of doxorubicin (DOX) was chosen as an analytical factor. The molecular docking study revealed that the doxorubicin drug interacted with DNA through intercalation mode, which was in agreement with obtained experimental results. The DOX detection performance of ds-DNA/SWCNTs/GCE was assessed at a concentration range of 1.0 nM–20.0 µM. The detection limit was found to be 0.6 nM that was comparable and even better (in many cases) than that of previous electrochemical reported sensors. In the final step, the ds-DNA/SWCNTs/GCE showed powerful ability for determination of the DOX in injection samples with acceptable recovery data. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Papers of Micromachines in Biology and Biomedicine 2021)
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Article
Rapid Fabrication of Superhydrophobic Virtual Walls for Microfluidic Gas Extraction and Sensing
Micromachines 2021, 12(5), 514; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/mi12050514 - 02 May 2021
Viewed by 599
Abstract
Based on the virtual walls concept, where fluids are guided by wettability, we demonstrate the application of a gas phase extraction microfluidic chip. Unlike in previous work, the chip is prepared using a simple, rapid, and low-cost fabrication method. Channels were cut into [...] Read more.
Based on the virtual walls concept, where fluids are guided by wettability, we demonstrate the application of a gas phase extraction microfluidic chip. Unlike in previous work, the chip is prepared using a simple, rapid, and low-cost fabrication method. Channels were cut into double-sided adhesive tape (280 µm thick) and bonded to hydrophilic glass slides. The tape was selectively made superhydrophobic by ‘dusting’ with hydrophobic silica gel to enhance the wettability contrast at the virtual walls. Finally, the two glass slides were bonded using tape, which acts as a spacer for gas transport from/to the guided liquids. In our example, the virtual walls create a stable liquid–vapor–liquid flow configuration for the extraction of a volatile analyte (ammonia), from one liquid stream to the other through the intermediate vapor phase. The collector stream contained a pH indicator to visualize the mass transport. Quantitative analysis of ammonium hydroxide in the sample stream (<1 mM) was possible using a characteristic onset time, where the first pH change in the collector stream was detected. The effect of gap length, flow rates, and pH of the collector stream on the onset time is demonstrated. Finally, we demonstrate the analysis of ammonium hydroxide in artificial human saliva to show that the virtual walls chip is suitable for extracting volatile analytes from biofluids. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Papers of Micromachines in Biology and Biomedicine 2021)
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Article
Non-Enzymatic Glucose Detection Based on NiS [email protected] Nanosphere in Human Serum and Urine
Micromachines 2021, 12(4), 403; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/mi12040403 - 05 Apr 2021
Viewed by 648
Abstract
Herein, we report a non-enzymatic electrochemical glucose sensing platform based on NiS nanoclusters dispersed on NiS nanosphere ([email protected]) in human serum and urine samples. The [email protected] are directly grown on nickel foam (NF) ([email protected]|NF) substrate by a facile, and one-step electrodeposition strategy under [...] Read more.
Herein, we report a non-enzymatic electrochemical glucose sensing platform based on NiS nanoclusters dispersed on NiS nanosphere ([email protected]) in human serum and urine samples. The [email protected] are directly grown on nickel foam (NF) ([email protected]|NF) substrate by a facile, and one-step electrodeposition strategy under acidic solution. The as-developed nanostructured [email protected]|NF electrode materials successfully employ as the enzyme-mimic electrocatalysts toward the improved electrocatalytic glucose oxidation and sensitive glucose sensing. The [email protected]|NF electrode presents an outstanding electrocatalytic activity and sensing capability towards the glucose owing to the attribution of great double layer capacitance, excessive electrochemical active surface area (ECASA), and high electrochemical active sites. The present sensor delivers a limit of detection (LOD) of ~0.0083 µM with a high sensitivity of 54.6 µA mM−1 cm−2 and a wide linear concentration range (20.0 µM–5.0 mM). The [email protected]|NF-based sensor demonstrates the good selectivity against the potential interferences and shows high practicability by glucose sensing in human urine and serum samples. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Papers of Micromachines in Biology and Biomedicine 2021)
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Article
Magnetic Bead Chain-Based Continuous-Flow DNA Extraction for Microfluidic PCR Detection of Salmonella
Micromachines 2021, 12(4), 384; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/mi12040384 - 01 Apr 2021
Viewed by 790
Abstract
Nucleic acid extraction is crucial for PCR detection of pathogenic bacteria to ensure food safety. In this study, a new magnetic extraction method was developed using 3D printing and magnetic silica beads (MSBs) to extract the target DNA from a large volume of [...] Read more.
Nucleic acid extraction is crucial for PCR detection of pathogenic bacteria to ensure food safety. In this study, a new magnetic extraction method was developed using 3D printing and magnetic silica beads (MSBs) to extract the target DNA from a large volume of bacterial sample and combined with microfluidic PCR to determine the bacteria. After proteinase K was added into a bacterial sample to lyse the bacteria and release the DNA, it was continuous-flow injected into the serpentine channel of the extraction chip, where magnetic silica bead chains had been formed in advance using a homogeneous magnetic field generated by two concentric semicircle magnets to capture the MSBs. Then, the flowing DNA was captured by the MSB chains, washed with alcohol, dried with gas, and eluted with deionized water to obtain the purified and concentrated DNA. Finally, the extracted DNA templates were injected into a microfluidic PCR chip with lyophilized amplification reagents and determined using a commercial qPCR device. The experimental results showed that the DNA extraction efficiency was more than 90%, and the lower detection limit of Salmonella was 102 CFU/mL. This new Salmonella detection method is promising to provide the rapid, sensitive, and simultaneous detection of multiple foodborne pathogens. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Papers of Micromachines in Biology and Biomedicine 2021)
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Review

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Review
Point-of-Care Testing—The Key in the Battle against SARS-CoV-2 Pandemic
Micromachines 2021, 12(12), 1464; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/mi12121464 (registering DOI) - 27 Nov 2021
Viewed by 246
Abstract
The deleterious effects of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic urged the development of diagnostic tools to manage the spread of disease. Currently, the “gold standard” involves the use of quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR) for SARS-CoV-2 detection. Even though it is [...] Read more.
The deleterious effects of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic urged the development of diagnostic tools to manage the spread of disease. Currently, the “gold standard” involves the use of quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR) for SARS-CoV-2 detection. Even though it is sensitive, specific and applicable for large batches of samples, qRT-PCR is labour-intensive, time-consuming, requires trained personnel and is not available in remote settings. This review summarizes and compares the available strategies for COVID-19: serological testing, Point-of-Care Testing, nanotechnology-based approaches and biosensors. Last but not least, we address the advantages and limitations of these methods as well as perspectives in COVID-19 diagnostics. The effort is constantly focused on understanding the quickly changing landscape of available diagnostic testing of COVID-19 at the clinical levels and introducing reliable and rapid screening point of care testing. The last approach is key to aid the clinical decision-making process for infection control, enhancing an appropriate treatment strategy and prompt isolation of asymptomatic/mild cases. As a viable alternative, Point-of-Care Testing (POCT) is typically low-cost and user-friendly, hence harbouring tremendous potential for rapid COVID-19 diagnosis. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Papers of Micromachines in Biology and Biomedicine 2021)
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Review
E-Skin: The Dawn of a New Era of On-Body Monitoring Systems
Micromachines 2021, 12(9), 1091; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/mi12091091 - 10 Sep 2021
Viewed by 740
Abstract
Real-time “on-body” monitoring of human physiological signals through wearable systems developed on flexible substrates (e-skin) is the next target in human health control and prevention, while an alternative to bulky diagnostic devices routinely used in clinics. The present work summarizes the recent trends [...] Read more.
Real-time “on-body” monitoring of human physiological signals through wearable systems developed on flexible substrates (e-skin) is the next target in human health control and prevention, while an alternative to bulky diagnostic devices routinely used in clinics. The present work summarizes the recent trends in the development of e-skin systems. Firstly, we revised the material development for e-skin systems. Secondly, aspects related to fabrication techniques were presented. Next, the main applications of e-skin systems in monitoring, such as temperature, pulse, and other bio-electric signals related to health status, were analyzed. Finally, aspects regarding the power supply and signal processing were discussed. The special features of e-skin as identified contribute clearly to the developing potential as in situ diagnostic tool for further implementation in clinical practice at patient personal levels. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Papers of Micromachines in Biology and Biomedicine 2021)
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