Plenary Lecture

March 9, 2009
Steve Brown

E-Separation Solutions

Sunday afternoon's plenary lecture at Pittcon 2009 was presented by George M. Whitesides, Woodford L. and Ann A. Flowers University Professor, Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology, Harvard University. The lecture was titled "Paper Diagnostics - Using First World Science in Developing Economies."

Sunday afternoon’s plenary lecture at Pittcon 2008 was presented by George M. Whitesides, Woodford L. and Ann A. Flowers University Professor, Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology, Harvard University. The lecture was titled “Paper Diagnostics — Using First World Science in Developing Economies.”

In the plenary lecture, Whitesides discussed the need for low cost, ruggedness, and independence of infrastructure in bringing scientific solutions to developing economies. His laboratory’s approach, which they call “simple solutions,” is an attempt to fit the technology to the socioeconomic realities in the developing areas. The solutions should be inexpensive, easy to maintain or replace, simple to use, adaptable to local conditions, scalable, and easily stored and transported. According to Whitesides, these simple, inexpensive successful solutions will be useful in not only areas with developing economies, but for countries with established economies as well. His discussion also focused on medical diagnostics using microfluidic systems based on patterned paper and microanalytical systems using magnetic levitation.

Dr. Whitesides began his college education at Harvard University (Cambridge, Massachusetts), where he received an A.B. degree in 1960. He received a Ph.D. degree from the California Institute of Technology (Pasadena, California). From 1963 to 1982, he was a faculty member at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Cambridge, Massachusetts). He left MIT for Harvard’s Department of Chemistry in 1982 and became Department Chairman from 1986 to 1989. He was also the Mallinckrodt Professor of Chemistry from 1982 to 2004. His research group covers a wide variety of scientific areas, including microfluidics, fluidic optics, nanotechnology, science for developing economies, complexity and emergence, magnetics, electrets, organic surface science, functional self-assembly, organic/organometallic electronics, proteomics and protein biophyics, cell biology, polyvalency, and the origin of life.