Despite being diminutive in size, these microchips have the potential to make big impacts on drug development and medical treatment testing. At LLNL, we are replicating the human body on a miniature scale, specifically focusing on brain physiology. Capturing human physiology outside the body allows us to probe and understand the human body without using human subjects. The body is a complex marvel and capturing all that on an integrated instrumented microfluidic chip that fits in the palm of your hands is an exciting challenge. This talk will describe how researchers at LLNL are using biology, 3D bioprinting, microchips and other technology to recreate human physiology outside the body.

Speaker Bios


Dr. Elizabeth Wheeler

Elizabeth Wheeler is a staff scientist and a group leader in the Materials Engineering Division. She began her career at LLNL as a post-doc after receiving her Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from Stanford University. She has been involved with bioinstrumentation at LLNL for 15 years. The majority of her career has focused on integrating biology and engineering to yield new platforms or flexible devices for Homeland Security or medical applications. She has worked on numerous multidisciplinary teams that have field tested technology developed at LLNL. Currently she is a team member on a Bioprinting Vasculature project and the Principal Investigator for both the in-vitro Chip-based Human Investigational Platform (iCHIP) and a DNA Tagged Reagents for Aerosol Experiments (DNATrax) project for which she won an R&D100 award in 2013.



Dr. Monica Moya

Dr. Moya is a biomedical engineer and researcher. She received her BS in Engineering from Northwestern University and her Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering from Illinois Institute of Technology. She performed postdoctoral research at UC Irvine under a prestigious National Institutes of Health fellowship. Currently, she works as the principal investigator of 3D bioprinting at LLNL and as a technical lead on another bioengineering project, building a human on a chip. Dr. Moya was a first generation college student and has been committed to empowering students in STEM. She serves as a mentor for Sponsors for Educational Opportunity, and she is a member of the outreach committee of the Pedrozzi scholarship Foundation and the alumni board of the Bill and Melinda Gates Millennium Scholarship program. She was recently recognized by the Empower Her Institute with a Millennial Leader Award, which recognizes accomplished professionals under 40 who are working for the advancement of girls and women in the arts, business, public service, and STEM fields.




Erin McKay

Erin M. McKay is a Biology teacher at Tracy High School in Tracy, CA. She received her BS in Biology with an emphasis in Plant biology in 2001 and her Science teaching credential in 2002 from University of California Davis.  While attending UC Davis she interned at a small startup, AgraQuest, in their microbiology department. After finishing her education, she began teaching at Tracy high in 2002, and began participating in Lawrence Livermore National Lab's Teacher Research Academy. As of the summer of 2011, she and three other west coast teachers began collaborating with Rutgers University's Waksman Institute's student scholar program.  This program trains teachers and students how to do genuine Molecular Biology research in the classroom.  In the summer of 2012, Erin helped organize and instruct the student scholar program at Lawrence Livermore Lab's Teacher Research Academy.

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Careers