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When Medicine Meets Engineering—Paradigm Shifts in Diagnostics and Therapeutics

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During the last two decades, the manufacturing techniques of microfluidics-based devices have been phenomenally advanced, offering unlimited potential for bio-medical technologies. However, the direct applications of these technologies toward diagnostics and therapeutics are still far from maturity. The present challenges lay at the interfaces between the engineering systems and the biocomplex systems. A precisely designed engineering system with narrow dynamic range is hard to seamlessly integrate with the adaptive biological system in order to achieve the design goals. These differences remain as the roadblock between two fundamentally non-compatible systems. This paper will not extensively review the existing microfluidic sensors and actuators; rather, we will discuss the sources of the gaps for integration. We will also introduce system interface technologies for bridging the differences to lead toward paradigm shifts in diagnostics and therapeutics.

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