ICME CME 2013 Conference
Plenary Talk 1

Micro-Scale Biological Task Automation

James K. Mills, Ph.D.
Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering
University of Toronto
Toronto, Ontario

In recent years, there has been tremendous interest within the medical and biological research communities into the development of transgenic organisms, drug testing on small groups of cells or single cells, and removal of human embryonic cells formed during cell cleavage for Pre-implantation Genetic Diagnosis (PGD) and Prefertilization Genetic Diagnosis (PFD), amongst other activities. It has become evident that such tasks must be carried out on a large scale to keep pace with the needs of the medical and biological research communities. Currently, much of this cell processing activity is carried out by highly skilled and highly paid technicians using manual techniques. Addressing this increasing demand for large scale processing of single cells, the research work reported on in this presentation is directed towards the automation of biological micro-scale tasks using robotic technology. Key research areas which now stand in the way of the automation of micro-scale tasks involving contact with biological materials have been investigated. The work presented will address both control and automation methods utilized to achieve automation of cell injection and single cell surgery.

James K. Mills is with Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering, University of Toronto. He received the B.Sc. and M.A.Sc. in Electrical Engineering and the PhD in Mechanical Engineering, specializing in robotic control. His recent research interests include: control of multi-robots, design and control of high speed machines, 3D MEMS robotic assembly, meso-scale machine design, smart structure sensing and control, and -scale biological task automation. He has published over 400 papers and supervised over 60 masters and Ph.D. students and a number of Post-Doctoral Fellows and Research Engineers. He has been an Invited Visiting Professor at the Centre for Artificial Intelligence and Robotics in Bangalore, India, a Visiting Professor at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, Chinese University of Hong Kong and the City University, Hong Kong.