Professor, Mechanical and Mechatronics Engineering; Canada Research Chair in Droplet Microfluidics and Lab-on-a-Chip (LOC) Technology

Research interests: micro/nano-fluidics; lab-on-a-chip; protein separation; live-colony detection


Waterloo Microfluidics Laboratory operates under the direction of Professor Carolyn L. Ren. The ultimate goal of our lab is to gain fundamental understanding of microfluidics and nanofluidics and develop integrated Lab-on-a-Chip or BioChip devices for biological, chemical and biomedical diagnosis and analysis. Specifically, Waterloo Microfluidics Lab is interested in the development of design and optimization tools, advanced microfabrication techniques for rapid prototyping, characterization methodologies for Lab-on-a-Chip or BioChip devices. Both experimental investigation and numerical simulation are practical tools for their investigations.

A typical Lab-on-a-Chip device is a piece of palm-sized glass or plastic plate with a network of microchannels etched onto its surface. It is able to perform integrated chemical and biomedical processes on a single chip by employing electrokinetic methods to transport liquids in microchannels. As compared to their traditional counterparts, such miniaturized devices require a very small amount of biological samples (i.e. protein), reduce operation and analysis time by integrating parallel processes, and increase integration and portability. Therefore, the development of microfluidic chips can save the cost of chemical and biomedical diagnosis significantly and has the potential revolutionize the current level of medical diagnosis and treatment.


  • PhD, Mechanical Engineering, University of Toronto, 2004
  • MASc, Thermal Engineering, Harbin Institute of Technology, 1995
  • BSc, Thermal Engineering, Harbin Institute of Technology, 1992
Carolyn REn
University of Waterloo