We have developed a range of innovative hands-on activities to engage school children and the general public in our research in lab-on-a-chip based chemistry and microfluidic chemical measurement. Examples include: (i) design and fabrication of microfluidic devices demonstrated through chocolate moulding or milling with a pantograph on colourful scratch paper, (ii) design of paper microfluidic devices with wax crayons illustrating the concept of hydrophobic barriers and capillarity, (iii) ping-pong models of cell capture in blood illustrating molecular binding with velcro, (iv) generating dilutions and concentration gradients with mixer chips and colourful fruit juices, (v) exploring drug testing with colour changes on mini-organ moulds made from jelly, (v) using the computer game Minecraft to let students build and explore lab-on-a-chip.

We regularly take part in event such as the Hull Science Festival, Pint of Science, Soapbox Science and the Beverley Cafe Scientifique. We run workshops and STEM clubs for school children and college students on-campus and in local schools. Please contact us to find out more.

Injection moulding with chocolate

Precision milling with pantograph and scratch-art

Paper microfluidics

Ping-pong balls models for cell capture

Tissue-on-chip / Organ-on-Chip

Flow behaviour – Colour gradients with juices and droplet microfluidics with juice and olive oil

Minecraft Microfluidics

Selected References:

  • Darius G. Rackus, Ingmar H. Riedel-Kruse, Nicole Pamme, ‘Learning on a chip:’  Microfluidics for formal and informal science education, Biomicrofluidics, 201913, 041501. doi: 10.1063/1.5096030
  • Mohammad M. N. Esfahani, Mark D. Tarn, Tahmina A. Choudhury, Laura C. Hewitt, Ashley J. Mayo, Theodore A. Rubin, Mathew R. Waller, Martin G. Christensen, Amy Dawson, Nicole Pamme, Lab-on-a-chip workshop activities for secondary school students, Biomicrofluidics, 2016, 10, 011301. doi: 10.1063/1.4940884
  • Chips out of the Lab – Outreach at MicroTAS 2016, http://blogs.rsc.org/lc/2016/11/10/chips-out-of-the-lab-outreach-at-microtas-2016/

Videos of our outreach activities on YouTube: