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 a Tier 2 Canada Research Chair in Lab-on-a- Chip technology. She is also the Director of the Waterloo Microfluidics Laboratory 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 and analysis. There is a specific focus on the development of design and optimization tools, advanced microfabrication techniques for rapid prototyping, and characterization methodologies for Lab-on-a-Chip or BioChip devices. 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.

Both experimental investigation and numerical simulation are practical tools for the research lab’s investigations. Professor Ren’s work is geared at understanding the microfluidic transport phenomena and plays an integral role in microfluidic based devices for multidimensional protein separation and identification—techniques used to diagnose diseases based on the presence of biological markers. The group is also developing microfluidic platforms for cell culture and living cell analysis, which are essential for on-the-spot diagnosis. Professor Ren’s work in Lab-on-a-Chip technology strives to reduce healthcare costs through her innovation in hand-held devices for point-of-care diagnosis.

Carolyn Ren is a member of the Waterloo Centre for Microbial Research (

Research Interests

  • Lab-on-a-Chip
  • Droplet Microfluidics
  • Computational Fluid Dynamics
  • Protein Separation and Detection
  • Soft lithography
  • Biomechanics and Biotechnology
  • Bacterial Detection
  • UV detection
  • Fluorescence Detection
  • Nanotechnology
  • Nanofluidics
  • Micro-scale fluid mechanics
  • Enabling Platform Technology
  • Biosensing and devices
  • High throughput screening for drug screening
  • Manufacturing Nanomaterials and Carbon Management
  • Advanced Manufacturing
  • Connectivity and Internet of Things
  • Water
  • IoT
  • Devices
  • Application domains
  • Stakeholders


  • 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 2015, 2016
  • SYDE 383 - Fluid Mechanics
    • Taught in 2015, 2016
  • ME 595 - Special Topics in Mechanical Engineering
    • Taught in 2017, 2018
  • ME 765 - Special Topics in Fluid Mechanics
    • Taught in 2018, 2019
  • ME 351 - Fluid Mechanics 1
    • Taught in 2017, 2018, 2019
* Only courses taught in the past 5 years are displayed.

Selected/Recent Publications

  • 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, A microfluidic chip integrated with droplet generation, pairing, trapping, merging, mixing and releasing, RSC Advances, 7(27), 2017, 16738 - 16750
  • 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

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