Carolyn Ren


Contact InformationCarolyn Ren

Phone: 519-888-4567 x38233, 519-888-4567 x33030
Location: E3 2108G, E3 4105


Biography Summary

Carolyn Ren is a Professor in the Department of Mechanical and Mechatronics Engineering and director of Waterloo Microfluidics Laboratory. She held a Tier 2 Canada Research Chair in Microfluidics and Lab-on-a- Chip technology from 2009-2019. She is also a member of the College of New Scholars, Artists and Scientists of Royal Society of Canada, and a fellow of the Canadian Society of Mechanical Engineers.

The Microfluidics research lab aims to gain a fundamental understanding of microfluidics and nanofluidics and develop chip-based technology for biological, chemical and biomedical diagnosis, analysis and treatment. Current research programs focus on developing microfluidics enabled wearable technologies and products such as active knee sleeve and edema sleeve, instrumentation for protein fractionation, water quality monitoring and infectious disease diagnosis such as the COVID-19 and enabling tools for automated high-throughput single particle or single cell analysis using active droplet microfluidic platform technologies.

Carolyn Ren is also an entrepreneur and has co-founded four companies, Advanced Electrophoresis Solutions Inc. focusing on protein separation, Quantwave Technology Inc. focusing on microwave sensing for water and food quality control, Air Microfluidic Systems Inc. specialized in soft robotic wearable systems, and Alphaxon focusing on protein fractionation.

Carolyn Ren is a member of Waterloo Institute of Nanotechnology (,

Water Institute (,

Center for Bioengineering and Biotechnologies (,

Waterloo Centre for Microbial Research (

Research Interests

  • Microfluidics
  • Lab-on-a-Chip
  • Droplet Microfluidics
  • Soft Robots
  • Microwave Sensing
  • Protein Fractionation
  • Computational Fluid Dynamics
  • Soft lithography
  • Bacterial Detection
  • Advanced Manufacturing
  • Connectivity and Internet of Things
  • Water


  • 2004, Doctorate, Mechanical Engineering, University of Toronto
  • 1995, Master's, Thermal Engineering, Harbin Institute of Technology
  • 1992, Bachelor's, Thermal Engineering, Harbin Institute of Technology


  • ME 203 - Ordinary Differential Equations
    • Taught in 2020
  • ME 351 - Fluid Mechanics 1
    • Taught in 2017, 2018, 2019
  • ME 595 - Special Topics in Mechanical Engineering
    • Taught in 2017, 2018, 2020, 2021
  • ME 765 - Special Topics in Fluid Mechanics
    • Taught in 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021
  • MTE 202 - Ordinary Differential Equations
    • Taught in 2021
  • MTE 599 - Special Topics in Mechatronics Engineering: Mechanical Systems
    • Taught in 2021
* Only courses taught in the past 5 years are displayed.

Selected/Recent Publications

  • R Gao*, CL Ren, Synergizing Microfluidics with Soft Robotics: A Perspective on Miniaturization and Future Directions, Biomicrofluidics, 15, 2021, 011392 - (28pp)
  • J Farnese*, P Zhao* and CL Ren, Effect of Surface Roughness on Bond Strength Between PCTE Membranes and PDMS Towards Microfluidic Applications, International Journal of Adhesion and Adhesives, 106, 2021, 102800 - (5pp)
  • N Qin*, P Zhao*, E Ho, G Xin, CL Ren, Microfluidic Technology for Antibacterial Resistance Study and Antibiotic Susceptibility Testing: review and perspective, ACS Sensors, 6, 2021, 3 - 21
  • Qin, Ning and Wen, John and Ren, Carolyn L, Hydrodynamic shrinkage of liquid CO 2 Taylor drops in a straight microchannel, Journal of Physics: Condensed Matter, 2018
  • Chen, Xiaoming and Ren, Carolyn L, Experimental study on droplet generation in flow focusing devices considering a stratified flow with viscosity contrast, Chemical Engineering Science, 163, 2017, 1 - 10
  • Amstad, Esther and Chen, Xiaoming and Eggersdorfer, Max and Cohen, Noa and Kodger, Thomas E and Ren, Carolyn L and Weitz, David A, Parallelization of microfluidic flow-focusing devices, Physical Review E, 95(4), 2017
  • Chen, Xiaoming and Brukson, Alexander and Ren, Carolyn L, A simple droplet merger design for controlled reaction volumes, Microfluidics and Nanofluidics, 21(3), 2017
  • Chen, Xiaoming and Ren, Carolyn L, A microfluidic chip integrated with droplet generation, pairing, trapping, merging, mixing and releasing, RSC Advances, 7(27), 2017, 16738 - 16750

In the News

Graduate Studies