Iolan solving microscopic problems

ANNE KAZMIERCZAK
Register Reporter

Submitted photo
Keil Regehr holds up microchannels containing microfluidic samples in his lab in Madison, Wisc. Regehr, son of Iolans Donna and Larry Regehr, recently broke through a problem with the relatively new technology. His work was published in August by the Britain’s Royal Society of Chemistry.

Iolan Keil Regehr had a paper on microfluidics published in “Lab on a Chip,” a journal of Britain’s Royal Society of Chemistry, in August.
“Microfluidics is a relatively new field,” Regehr said. “The idea is you can do a wide range of diagnostic and analytical tests with very small volumes of fluid.”
Regehr’s research is done with just 5 microliters of fluid per study sample and his test tubes are only 5 millimeters long, .6 mm wide and just .25 mm high.
“At that scale, the attractive forces between water molecules and simple diffusion ... dictate how the liquid flows,” he said. “If yellow and blue streams of water were flowing next to each other in a microchannel, they would not mix and look green, they would just look like a blue stripe and a yellow stripe.”
Scientists use the technology to replicate how cells form in the body. “This gives scientists more clinically relevant results,” Regehr said.
Regehr, working on a doctorate in biomedical engineering at the University of Wisconsin at Madison, is in a lab that specializes in researching breast cancer.
Regehr’s research focused on deciphering problems had by certain cell cultures grown in the microchannels. He presented his data at a conference in Quebec City in April, where it was well received.
“In the end, the most satisfying thing about this paper will be that it was truly useful information that brought some subtle problems to light,” he said.
Regehr and his wife, Stacy, live in Madison with their new baby, Zoey. He is the son of Iola Middle School teacher Donna and elementary physical education teacher Larry Regehr.