February 29 - March 4, 2016

Course Content
Keynote Speaker
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The 8th annual Hand's on Workshop in Micro and Nano Bioengineering will be held from Monday, February 29 to Friday, March 4 at McGill Univeristy in Montréal, Québec. Participants will learn the foundations of micro and nano biotechnologies and gain first hand experience with clean room microfabrication (photolithography), Computer Aided Design (CAD), 3D printing, soft lithography, microfluidics, microcontact printing, immunoassays and more. Last year, over 30 attendies from industry and all levels of academia joined the workshop!

The course is open to scientists, engineers and industry professionals in any area of research who would like to learn more about micro and nanofabrication and about micro and nanoscience technology in general. The course is of particular interest to biomedical researchers, chemists, physicists, as well as biomedical, mechanical, chemical, and materials engineers.

Course Content

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This lecture series will begin with an introduction and overview of micro and nano biotechnology and applications. This will be followed by more in depth lectures on 1) Microfabrication, 2) Soft Lithography, 3) Additive Manufacturing and Rapid Prototyping and 4) Microfluidics and applications in biomedical technologies. The purpose of these lectures is to give participants an overview of the current trends and applications of micro and nano biotechnologies in a number of fields.


This module will allow participants to gain first hand experience completing a photolithographic process in the McGill Nanotools Microfab Clean Room. Participants will fabricate a 3D mold of microfluidic devices on a silicon wafer that will be used for device fabrication in the subsequent lab session. Fabrication of the molds is performed in a controlled (clean-room) environment to minimize any defects related to contamination of dust particles.


Participants will first learn the basics of Computer Aided Design (CAD) software (AutoCAD). Design rules and limitations will be discussed for photolithographic masks (2D) and high resolution 3D printing (3D). In the interactive portion of the session, participants will design a 2D mask for photolithography, and make adjustments to a 3D design for 3D printing. Computers are provided, however participants are encouraged to bring their own laptops.


3D Printing
Participants will be introduced to the benefits and shortcomings of rapid prototyping in microfluidic applications using a 3D printer with 50 micrometer resolution.
Soft lithography
In this module, you will carry out experiments using classical examples of microfluidic devices. The devices will be fabricated by replica molding into PDMS. Silicon molds (fabricated in Module 2) as well as 3D printed molds will be used. Several designs are available.
Microfluidics Experiments
This module will allow the participant to experience first-hand microfluidic systems from their creation, using soft-lithography technique, to their set-up and their utilization. Several designs are available. Participants can chose a device to work with from a selection of designs
Microfluidic experiment 1: Gradient generator
Microfluidic gradients have been developed over the last 8 years and have found widespread application in cellular chemotaxis studies for example. You will learn how to operate microfluidic devices using syringe pumps and experiment with a microfluidic gradient generator. First, you will punch holes into the PDMS for making the connections. You will then activate the surface of the PDMS with an air plasma, and then bond it to a glass slide. Next, you connect capillaries and deliver three different chemicals to the gradient generator, and observe the formation of a stationary biochemical gradient.
Microfluidic experiment 2: Miniaturized Mosaic Immunoassays
Using this assay, many different antigens can be screened at the same time in a small area using minute amount of reagents, making the assays less labour-, time- and cost- intensive. You will learn how to handle microfluidic devices that operate based on capillary effects only (no pumps, no plugs), and that can be serviced manually using conventional micropipettes. You will learn how to use microfluidics to pattern lines of antibodies onto a surface to carry out combinatorial miniaturized mosaic immunoassay.
Microcontact Printing
In the microcontact printing technique, a flexible stamp is used to print proteins at the microscale. The stamp, usually made of polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS), is obtained by molding against a micro-structured silicon wafer. Once replicated, the stamp contains in relief the desired pattern to be printed on the surface. When the stamp is ready, the proteins of interest (i.e. antibodies, streptavidin, fibronectin...) are adsorbed on the PDMS stamp by simple soaking of the protein solutions on the stamp (inking process). The "inked" protein stamp is then brought into contact with the desired surface (glass slides, petri dishes or cover slips) and only the proteins adsorbed on the relief of the stamp are transferred to the substrate and generate the micro pattern. The participants will learn about all the technical "tricks" required to get well defined and homogeneous proteins patterns. This is a two-hour training session - 5 time slots distributed over 3 days are available to accommodate your schedule.


In this session, presentations will be given by participants who will show how Nano/Microtechnology can be applied to their research area. This session is a highlight of the course as it helps participants to relate what they just learned to their work, and at the same time providing a snapshot of the breadth of micro and nanotechnologies. There will also be an opportunity to participate in a process design challenge and compete for the best presentation award this year! To conclude the day, past year participants will be invited back to talk about their current research using the tools and techniques they learned through this workshop.

For module 1 slides, course notes, design challenge information, CAD files, etc, please visit the downloads page.



The workshop is comprised of 5 modules and a distinguished keynote speaker. Modules 2, 3 and 4 have several time slots to accommodate your schedule. Participants can build their own workshop schedule in the registration process. Lunch is provided on Monday and Friday. Coffee and snacks will be provided on Monday and Friday mornings. We will end the workshop with a wine and cheese (and beer), don't miss it!


Keynote Speaker


Laboratory for Functional Tissue Engineering, University of Toronto

Milica Radisic is a Professor at the University of Toronto and Canada Research Chair (Tier 2) in Functional Cardiovascular Tissue Engineering. She obtained her B.Eng. from McMaster University in 1999, and Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2004, both in Chemical Engineering. Dr. Radisic has received numerous awards and fellowships, including the MIT Technology Review Top 35 Innovators under 35.  In 2010, she was named “The One to Watch” by The Scientist and the Toronto Star; she also received McMaster Arch Award. She was a recipient of the Professional Engineers Ontario-Young Engineer Medal in 2011, the Engineers Canada - Young Engineer Achievement Award in 2012, the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal in 2013 and the NSERC E.W.R Steacie Fellowship in 2014.  In 2014 she was elected to the Royal Society of Canada, College of New Scholars, Artists and Scientists and in 2015 she was the recipient of the Hatch Innovation Award by CSChE.

The long term objective of Dr. Radisic’s research is to enable cardiovascular regeneration through tissue engineering and development of new biomaterials.  Her research interests also include microfluidic cell separation and development of in vitro models for drug testing. Currently, Dr. Radisic holds research funding from CIHR, NSERC, CFI, ORF, NIH, and the Heart and Stroke Foundation. She is an Associate Editor for ACS Biomaterials Science & Engineering and a member of Editorial Board of Tissue Engineering. She serves on the CIHR BME panel and is actively involved with the BMES (Cardiovascular Track Chair in 2013 and 2014) and TERMIS-AM (Council member, Chair of the Membership Committee). Her research findings have been presented in over 100 research papers, reviews and book chapters with an h-index of 43 and over 6000 citations.  She is a co-founder of the start-up company TARA Biosystems that focuses on the use of engineered tissues in drug development. 


Towards Person-on-a-Plate: Microfabrication and Biodegradable Polymers for High Fidelity Modelling of Human Tissues

Keynote 2015

Axel Guenther, University of Toronto
"Blood Vessels-on-a-Chip and Microfluidic Bioprinting"


Ali Khademhosseini, Harvard University
"Micro-Engineered Hydrogels for Stem Cell Bioengineering and Tissue Regeneration"



Hatice Altug, Boston University
"Optofluidics and Nanoplasmonic Metamaterials for Ultrasensitive Spectroscopy and Biodetection"



The workshop is located at McGill University in the heart of downtown Montréal, Québec. Modules 1 (Lectures), 2 (Clean Room Session) and 5 (Design Challenge) of the workshop will be held in the Rutherford Physics building (3600 Rue University), rooms 103 and 011. Module 3 (CAD Design Studio) will be held in the McConnell Engineering Building (3480 Rue University), Room 10. Module 4 (Lab Session) will be held in the Genome Québec and McGill Innovation Centre (740 Dr. Penfield Ave), Room 6500. The keynote speaker will be in room of M1 of the Strathcona Anatomy and Dentistry building (3640 rue University). The wine and cheese following the keynote will be held in the lobby of the Trottier building (3630 rue University). 

Coming from out of town? There are plenty of hotels within walking distance to McGill campus. Montréal bus routes 24, 144, and 80 will also take you near campus if staying further away. If you have any questions about transportation or accommodations, just send us an email at microfab.dj@gmail.com.



Participant Feedback



The Hands-on Workshop in Micro & Nano Bioengineering is made possible through the generous support of our sponsors. To find out more about becoming a sponsor, please email us at microfab.dj@gmail.com.