Dongqing Li

Dongqing Li

Contact information

Biography summary

Dongqing Li is a Professor in the Department of Mechanical and Mechatronics Engineering at the University of Waterloo.

His research is in the area of electrokinetic-based microfluidics and lab-on-a-chip technology. Lab-On-Chip (LOC) devices are micro scale laboratories on a microchip that can perform clinical diagnoses, scan DNA, run electrophoretic separations, act as micro reactors, detect cancer cells and identify bacteria and viruses.

The objective of Professor Li’s current research program is to develop quantitative microfluidic technologies that enable the chip-scale design and operation control of pumping, metering, switching, sample injection/dispensing, mixing, reacting, and separating processes. His research includes developing Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay (ELISA) chips for detecting bacteria and viruses, DNA sensing chips, real-time Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) chip systems, dielectrophoresis cell detection chip, and cellular lab on a chip.

The typical lab on a chip is a thin glass or plastic plate with a network of microchannels etched into its surface. These microchannels are about 10 microns deep, 50 microns wide, and several centimeters in length.

A liquid sample (as little as 100 picoliters) is injected at one end of a microchannel. Electric fields propel the sample along the channels, past reservoir chambers that squirt measured amounts of reactants into the sample as it moves over detectors that scrutinize the progress of the reaction. On such a chip, hundreds of different reactions and analyses can be performed at the same time through hundreds of parallel microchannels. The advantage of labs on a chip are that they include a very small sample amount, very short reaction and analysis time and high throughput, and portability. These are the medical and technical drivers of next generation - handheld, portable, biodiagnotic devices.

Research interests

  • Microfluidics and Nanofluidics
  • Lab-on-a-Chip
  • Interfacial Phenomena
  • Biomechanics and Biotechnology
  • Water
  • Nanotechnology


  • 1991, Doctorate, PhD, University of Toronto
  • 1984, Master's, MSc, Dalian Marine University
  • 1982, Bachelor's, BASc, Zhejiang University


  • ME 250 - Thermodynamics 1
    • Taught in 2019, 2020, 2022
  • ME 750 - Advanced Engineering Thermodynamics
    • Taught in 2019, 2021, 2022
  • MTE 309 - Introduction to Thermodynamics and Heat Transfer
    • Taught in 2019, 2020, 2021, 2023

* Only courses taught in the past 5 years are displayed.

Selected/recent publications

  • Li, Mengqi and Li, Dongqing, Vortices around Janus droplets under externally applied electrical field, Microfluidics and Nanofluidics, 20(5), 2016, 1 - 10
  • Peng, Ran and Li, Dongqing, Electroosmotic flow in single PDMS nanochannels, Nanoscale, 2016
  • Wang, Chengfa and Song, Yongxin and Pan, Xinxiang and Li, Dongqing, A novel microfluidic valve controlledby induced charge electro-osmotic flow, Journal of Micromechanics and Microengineering, 26(7), 2016, 75002 - 75009
  • Zhang, Fang and Li, Dongqing, Separation of dielectric Janus particles based on polarizability-dependent induced-charge electroosmotic flow, Journal of colloid and interface science, 448, 2015, 297 - 305
  • Peng, Ran and Li, Dongqing, Fabrication of nanochannels on polystyrene surface, Biomicrofluidics, 9(2), 2015

Graduate studies