Faculty Project Proposal Summary

Calendar Year 2014 Program



Faculty Name & Department/School: Elain Fu, School of Chemical, Biological and Environmental Engineering


Research Project Title: Modeling the physics of paper microfluidic devices


Project Overview: My research program encompasses microfluidics-based sensor technology development with the aims of understanding the physics and chemistry of device operation and increasing device performance for field applications. Recently, my research focus has been on the development of “paper” networks to enable high performance testing in a simple disposable format that is appropriate for use in even the lowest-resource settings. My lab is developing tools to manipulate multiple fluid volumes within porous materials and is using these tools to implement automated multi-step sample processing that is characteristic of "gold-standard" lab-based assays. We are focused on global health applications in the areas of human disease diagnosis, veterinary medicine, and agriculture. The specific goals of this project are to (i) create a model of a simple paper microfluidic assay using COMSOL Multiphysics and MATLAB Software, (ii) validate this model using existing experimental data, and to then (iii) use this model as a tool to inform us on assay behavior.


What skills will students obtain in this project? Experience using modeling and analysis software (some prior experience would be helpful), an understanding of the basic physics involved in the operation of paper microfluidic assays, and experience critically thinking about a scientific project.


Student research tasks: Tasks include setting up the model in Comsol, testing the model, analyzing model data (including writing code in MATLAB to streamline this process), analyzing raw experimental data, keeping a laboratory notebook on research, meeting with me at least once a week to discuss progress and next steps.


Number of hours per week expected of student: ~15


Preferred Faculty Contact Information (email): elain.fu@oregonstate.edu




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