BIOEN 455 homepage

When? Winter 2017, WF 2:00-3:20 PM (lectures) and M 12:30 PM-3:20 PM (labs)

Where? The lectures will be in Loew Hall 111. The labs will be in the Foege building’s Advanced Computing Lab (N140) and in the Folch Lab (Foege N423C).

Assignments and Grading: Team-based presentations. Class participation can increase your grade by as much as 0.1 points (over 4).

Handouts: must be downloaded by student.

Recommended Textbook: “Introduction to BioMEMS” (Albert Folch, CRC Press). Three e-book copies are available from the UW Libraries. The cheapest way to obtain the printed book is through Amazon Marketplace here, (oscillates around $60), but the ebook / rental versions can be found for as little as $26. The publisher has allowed me to offer (only to UW students) free PDFs of the uncorrected drafts of the textbook (see “textbook chapters” in the table below), but they have editing errors.

Disclaimer: I’m not recommending this book to make money with my students. I reimburse the royalties back to my students. I spent 5 years writing it because there was no book that covered the field with the appropriate breadth of scope, and still there is no other one. Since it came out in mid-2013, it has been adopted by more than 70 universities in 15 countries.



Additional Suggested Readings: must be downloaded by student: Review on Microfluidic Interfaces (Beebe), Review on Microfluidic Design Considerations for Cellular Studies (Beebe), Review on Microfluidic Physics (Beebe), Review on Molecular Biology Chips (Quake), Review on Optofluidics (Quake), Review on Soft-Microfluidics (Quake), Review on PDMS Microfluidics (Whitesides), Review on Microfluidics Past and Future, Review on Cell Patterning (Folch), Review on Cell Biology on a Chip (Folch), Review on Single Molecule Lab on a Chip (Craighead), Review on Microfluidics System Biology (Lee), Review_on Cell Patterning (Chen).

Important note for disabled individuals: If you would like to request academic accommodations due to a disability, please contact Disabled Student Services, 448 Schmitz, (206) 543-8924 (V/TTY). If you have a letter from Disabled Student Services indicating you have a disability that requires academic accommodations, please present the letter to me so we can discuss the accommodations you might need for the class.

Note that weeks and sections do not necessarily correspond exactly

Week / Section

(by section)

Handouts (PDF)
(by section)


(approx. schedule)


It's a small world
Dimensions and scaling challenges involved in going from macro to micro to nano

Section 0

Teaching Appendix

Jan 9


How do we make small things?
Introduction to micropatterning, micromachining, and micromolding with an emphasis on biomaterials restrictions

Section 1 slides or textbook Chapter 1

Section 1 appendix on 3D printing

NO LAB Mon Jan 18 (MLK Holiday)


Micropatterning of substrates and cells
Self-assembled monolayers, chemically-bound biomolecules, biocompatible/biodegradable polymers

Section 2 slides or textbook Chapter 2

Jan 23


Introduction to microfluidics, properties of biological fluids in microchannels, mathematical modeling of fluid flow

Section 3 slides or textbook Chapter 3

Jan 30


Molecular biology on a chip
Chromatographic separations on a chip, DNA prisms, deterministic lateral displacement, isoelectric focusing, free-flow electrophoresis, mass spectrometry, PCR chips

Section 4 slides or textbook Chapter 4

Feb 6


Cell-based chips for biotechnology
Miniature enzymatic assays, DNA microarrays, optical detection methods amenable to miniaturization

Section 5 slides or textbook Chapter 5

Feb 13


BioMEMS for cell biology
Enabling the control of cell-substrate, cell-cell, and cell-medium interactions

 Section 6 slides or textbook Chapter 6

NO LAB Mon Feb 20 (President’s Day)


Tissue microengineering
Introduction to biomimetic substrates and microscaffolds for tissue engineering applications

Section 7 slides or textbook Chapter 7

Feb 27


Microfabricated implants and biosensors
Implantable microelectrodes, microtweezers.

Section 8 slides or textbook Chapter 8

BioMEMS Hall of Fame

March 6