David Kong

Synthetic biologists need great tools to realize their creative visions. Microfluidic, or “lab-on-a-chip” instrumentation has the potential to be such a foundational tool for synthetic biology. Despite numerous examples of microfluidic devices performing complex processes central to synthetic biology, ranging from automating and miniaturizing DNA synthesis to performing single cell analyses, they are not commonly used. Microfluidics are not easy to make or use, and researchers are typically unable to leverage the designs and hardware of other groups. To help address these issues I propose in this action plan to develop metafluidics, a toolkit for microfluidics. The metafluidic toolkit leverages digital fabrication to make devices easy to manufacture, abstraction hierarchies for enabling intuitive interfaces to make them easy to use, and finally an open repository of device and hardware designs to make them easier to share and reproduce. Through metafluidics, microfluidics will hopefully become more accessible to synthetic biologists of all types, from students just learning about biology to cutting-edge innovators re-engineering organisms.