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Professor Aaron Wheeler (IBBME) has won the Analytical Chemistry 2011 Young Innovator Award. This award honours exceptional technical advancement and innovation in the field of micro- or nanofluidics early in the investigator’s career.

Wheeler’s innovative research explores the relationship between traditional enclosed microchannels and digital microfluidics, in which discrete droplets are manipulated on open devices using electrostatic forces. These processes are then used for high-throughput bioanalytical applications. Recently, Wheeler has worked with an endocrinologist to quantify hormones in small tissue samples, with potential therapeutic applications for infertility and cancer therapy. In another application of his methods, he has worked with Newborn Screening Ontario to evaluate blood samples; his hybrid microfluidic and microchannel methods enable the automation and streamlining of the process of quantifying inborn genetic disease. It is projects like these that demonstrate Wheeler’s unique vision that brings together two paradigms of microfluidics.

“It’s a great honour to be recognized,” stated Wheeler. “It’s a well-known award in the microfluidics community, and previous recipients are in the top of the field.” It’s not the first time Wheeler has been honoured; in 2009 he received a Sloan Fellowship and the Eli Lilly & Company Young Investigator Award in Analytical Chemistry.

Wheeler is an Assistant Professor with appointments in Chemistry, IBBME and the Banting and Best Department of Medical Research, and is Canada Research Chair in Bioanalytical Chemistry. The award is sponsored by Analytical Chemistry and the Chemical and Biological Microsystems Society and will be presented at uTAS (MicroTAS) 2011 in Seattle, October 2-6, 2011.

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