A Combined Fabrication and Instrumentation Platform for Sample Preparation

David J. Guckenberger, Peter C. Thomas, Jacob Rothbauer, Alex J. LaVanway, Meghan Anderson, Dan Gilson, Kevin Fawcett, Tristan Berto, Kevin Barrett, David J. Beebe, Scott M. Berry

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


While potentially powerful, access to molecular diagnostics is substantially limited in the developing world. Here we present an approach to reduced cost molecular diagnostic instrumentation that has the potential to empower developing world communities by reducing costs through streamlining the sample preparation process. In addition, this instrument is capable of producing its own consumable devices on demand, reducing reliance on assay suppliers. Furthermore, this instrument is designed with an "open" architecture, allowing users to visually observe the assay process and make modifications as necessary (as opposed to traditional "black box" systems). This open environment enables integration of microfluidic fabrication and viral RNA purification onto an easy-to-use modular system via the use of interchangeable trays. Here we employ this system to develop a protocol to fabricate microfluidic devices and then use these devices to isolate viral RNA from serum for the measurement of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) viral load. Results obtained from this method show significantly reduced error compared with similar nonautomated sample preparation processes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)267-274
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of laboratory automation
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2014

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: This work was supported by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation through the Grand Challenges in Global Health Initiative.


  • automated biology
  • engineering
  • fabrication
  • lab-on-a-chip
  • microfluidics
  • microtechnology
  • molecular biology
  • robotics and instrumentation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Science Applications
  • Medical Laboratory Technology


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