Albert Folch is a bioengineering professor at the University of Washington whose Folcher Lab is devoted to building better tools for cell cultures. As he puts it on his lab website, "We apply micro- and nanofabrication techniques to quantitatively design the micro/nanofluidic environment and/or the underlying substrate of cultured cells under large numbers of conditions." And Folcher loves to turn his creations into art — microfluidic art, to be exact. Above, you can see one of his creations, a device that contains a microscopic amount of fluid. See more of the gorgeous, abstract art he's created under the 'scope over the years.
Some of these images are nanoscale, and some are microscale. Folcher says:
We apply this methodology to address central neurobiology questions such as synaptogenesis (muscle cells), axon guidance (neuronal cells), and olfaction, as well as for studies of cell migration (neutrophils and fibroblasts).Basically these tiny instruments model the fluid dynamics inside cells. You know how humans are, according to one alien on Star Trek, "ugly bags of mostly water"? Well, Folch's lab figures out how that water behaves. And in the process, he's built some beautiful, small structures. Folch Lab Gallery [Folch Lab via MedGadget ] Thanks, Terry!