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Physics and Engineering at EMBL

Merten Group

Miniaturizing biology and chemistry in microfluidic systems

The Merten Group develops novel instrumentation for large-scale screens in biology and chemistry. Besides designing and manufacturing novel microfluidic chips for the cultivation of cells and multicellular organisms, we develop novel modules for the fusion, splitting and sorting of aqueous microdroplets. Furthermore, we focus on automation and the integration of different readout modules based on spectroscopy and imaging. We have access to a fully equipped clean room, use CAD and CFD software, develop novel LabVIEW programs and build new hardware (e.g. electronically controllable microvalves, microheaters/coolers, etc.). In general, the work in our group is highly interdisciplinary, including optics, engineering and programming. The overall goal is the development of cutting-edge technologies that might even have future commercial applications in industry (we are collaborating with several life science companies).

Merten Group

Selected publications

An automated two-phase microfluidic system for kinetic analyses and the screening of compound libraries. Clausell-Tormos, J., Griffiths, A.D. & Merten, C.A. Lab Chip. 2010 May 21;10(10):1302-7. Epub 2010 Mar 3.

Nanoliter plates--versatile tools for the screening of split-and-mix libraries on-bead and off-bead. Upert, G., Merten, C.A. & Wennemers, H. Chem Commun (Camb). 2010 Apr 7;46(13):2209-11. Epub 2010 Feb 23.

Droplet-based microfluidic platforms for the encapsulation and screening of mammalian cells and multicellular organisms. Clausell-Tormos J, Lieber D, Baret J-C, El Harrak A, Miller OJ, Blouwolff J, Humphry KJ, Koster S, Duan H, Holtze C, Weitz DA, Griffiths DA & Merten CA. 2008. Chemistry and Biology 15: 427–437.
(Research Highlight in Nature Methods 5(7): 580-581. 2008.)