I have learned a lot this semester even if many things have taken a different direction than I originally thought. This semester has been filled with learning microfluidic flow equations and principles as well as learning from failure. I wanted to capture a few last learning points that relate to my objectives.
I learned about the permeability of PDMS and how it works with CO2 exchange. According to the literature I have found, PDMS CO2 and O2 permeability depends on thickness and air bubbles. Most research on the topic is done with as little air bubbles as possible which luckily, is what we want to maximize transparency for MicroPIV experiments. It seems as though in a 50 micrometer by 50 micrometer channel, the PDMS can only be about 500 micrometers thick. This barely supplies enough oxygen to keep the fluid at an appropriate supply for in-vitro experiments. Because of this, in a test environment, there would have to be a separate method for Oxygen and Carbon Dioxide exchange such as media supply gas filters.
One of the best parts of the semester, and one that I learned much from was the Medical lab series hosted by Dr. Jensen. I have always wanted to learn suturing as I am an avid backpacker, and learning how to suture could save someone's life when there are no medical professionals available. We got to travel to the Medical Education Lab at the Fargo VA Hospital for an afternoon too. It was very fun and informative to learn the different techniques that medical students use to practice for real world surgeries. In addition, we got to tour the body of a cadaver and see almost all of the major organs in person. This was extremely interesting as we got to see how smoking and lung cancer actually affects lungs, look at irregularities in the bowel, and learned how to perform a Tracheotomy.