Device for measuring blood coagulation recognized as best paper by an emerging author.
Biomicrofluidics, a publication of AIP Publishing, aims to recognize significant contributions by emerging authors in microfluidics and nanofluidics with its annual Best Paper award. Sarah Mena has been selected by an expert panel of judges as the 2020 winner of the award.
“The Biomicrofluidics Best Paper Award seeks to recognize the achievements of our younger colleagues, not only in terms of solid fundamental science but also their potential for translation into practical technology,” said Leslie Yeo, Editor-in-Chief of Biomicrofluidics. “We had many submissions this year achieved those goals, but unfortunately, and with much difficulty, we could only pick one winner. Congratulations to Mena for her outstanding work! We are definitely looking forward to considering many more excellent papers for next year’s award.”
Mena, who currently researches particle flow at Particulate Solid Research, Inc., began her career studying fundamental fluid mechanics and shifted her focus from fluid flows to biofluids during her postdoctoral research appointment. Her upbringing in El Salvador helped inspire her interest in using science to address longstanding issues.
“I appreciate the Editor’s initiative to recognize young professionals. I am very honored by the award, and I hope it can inspire researchers from different backgrounds to work in the biomicrofluidics area,” Mena said.
“Growing up in a developing country motivated me to become an engineer and find solutions to society problems we face in the environment, healthcare, and access to other basic resources. Microfluidic technologies spiked my interest for their potential to be used as affordable point-of-care tools to deliver the much-needed healthcare to underserved populations.”
In the winning paper, “A droplet-based microfluidic viscometer for the measurement of blood coagulation,” Mena and her collaborators developed a method to quickly, reliably, and easily diagnose abnormalities in patients’ blood coagulation. Because uncontrolled bleeding is one of the primary causes of death in trauma victims, it is important to determine a patient’s coagulation status — how quickly their blood transforms from a liquid to a gel — when they enter the emergency room.
As the blood transforms, its viscosity changes. Using a device previously developed by one of the coauthors that mixes fluids from different channels as a method for measuring viscosity, the paper demonstrated that as blood solidifies, the length of the droplets in the device decreases, providing a simple way to monitor the coagulation behavior.
“If the clinician knows fast enough the reason for the coagulopathy in the patient, he or she can prescribe the correct treatment in a timely manner,” Mena said. “That saves lives.”
Mena’s background in chemical engineering and training in fluid mechanics positioned her well for her role in this interdisciplinary project, which was a collaborative effort of a diverse group of professionals ranging from engineers, medical doctors, and veterinarians.
“After finishing my undergraduate in chemical engineering, I’d have never guessed I would work with blood to explore coagulation processes, but there are so many shared concepts with reaction engineering, polymerization, and biochemistry,” she said.
The device can potentially replace bulky hospital equipment that measure a very complex process. Following some additional clinical testing, Mena is excited about its potential applications and future improvements to the design.
ABOUT THE AWARD
The purpose of the Biomicrofluidics Best Paper Award is to recognize significant contributions by emerging authors in microfluidics and nanofluidics. An expert panel of judges review submissions based on their scientific content and select a winner. The winner of the BMF Best Paper Award will receive a cash prize of $2,500. For questions about eligibility, the selection process, or the award, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
ABOUT THE JOURNAL
Biomicrofluidics rapidly disseminates research in fundamental physicochemical mechanisms associated with microfluidic and nanofluidic phenomena. The journal also publishes research in unique microfluidic and nanofluidic techniques for diagnostic, medical, biological, pharmaceutical, environmental, and chemical applications. See https://aip.scitation.org/journal/bmf
ABOUT AIP PUBLISHING
AIP Publishing is a wholly owned not-for-profit subsidiary of the American Institute of Physics (AIP). AIP Publishing’s mission is to support the charitable, scientific, and educational purposes of AIP through scholarly publishing activities in the fields of the physical and related sciences on its own behalf and on behalf of our publishing partners to help them proactively advance their missions.