The present and future role of microfluidics in biomedical research

Nature. 2014 Mar 13;507(7491):181-9. doi: 10.1038/nature13118.


Microfluidics, a technology characterized by the engineered manipulation of fluids at the submillimetre scale, has shown considerable promise for improving diagnostics and biology research. Certain properties of microfluidic technologies, such as rapid sample processing and the precise control of fluids in an assay, have made them attractive candidates to replace traditional experimental approaches. Here we analyse the progress made by lab-on-a-chip microtechnologies in recent years, and discuss the clinical and research areas in which they have made the greatest impact. We also suggest directions that biologists, engineers and clinicians can take to help this technology live up to its potential.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biomedical Research / methods*
  • Biomedical Research / trends*
  • Body Fluids / chemistry
  • Cell Migration Assays
  • Chemotaxis
  • Diagnostic Tests, Routine
  • Drug Discovery
  • Humans
  • Microfluidic Analytical Techniques* / instrumentation
  • Microfluidic Analytical Techniques* / methods
  • Microfluidic Analytical Techniques* / trends
  • Microfluidics* / instrumentation
  • Microfluidics* / methods
  • Microfluidics* / statistics & numerical data
  • Microfluidics* / trends