Much as microfabrication techniques have revolutionized the electronics industry, these same techniques are now poised to revolutionize the biotechnology and biomedical device industries. Photolithography, etching techniques, and deposition methods can create large numbers of microscopic features on silicon or glass substrates with areas of (greater than) 2 cm2.
Among these features are reaction chambers, separation channels, arrays of molecules, microelectronics, pumps, valves, and many other components. These features can be combined to create fully integrated devices that perform sample preparation, separation, detection and/or analysis, as well as drug delivery and in-situ mechanical sensors. The benefits of these integrated, miniaturized systems are their high-throughput screening capabilities, smaller required volumes of samples and reagents, and potential for automation with a consequent increase in reliability and decrease in costs.
The existing research strengths at UCI in genomics, cancer research, and protein technologies will be combined with those in MEMS (Micro-Electro-Mechanical Systems), microelectronics, and microelectrophoresis to develop new microdevices for biomedicine. Nanoscale technologies such as "lab-on-a-chip" devices, DNA array chips, chromosome microdissection/micromanipulation, and protein microanalysis techniques will be key technologies in the next century of biomedicine.