Carl Hansen, PhD

Affiliate Faculty

Assistant Professor, University of British Columbia Department of Physics and Astronomy

Carl Hansen is assistant professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the University of British Columbia. He is a part of the recently established UBC Center for High Throughput Biology (CHiBi). He is a Michael Smith Scholar, and is an associate faculty member of Electrical and Computer Engineering, the Institute for Systems Biology (Seattle), and the Michael Smith Labs (UBC).

Dr. Hansen directs a research program aimed at exploiting highly integrated microfluidic technologies to address fundamental bottlenecks in biological and medical research. Dr. Hansen helped develop Multilayer Soft Lithography (MSL), a breakthrough fabrication technology which allows for the robust integration of thousands of active microvalves within a compact biochip. He is a co-inventor on 31 US and international patent applications (9 issued) related to microfluidic technologies for biology. Dr. Hansen’s previous work in the area of structural biology has resulted in the successful commercialization of the Topaz Crystallization System (Fluidigm Corp.), the first product based on MSL technology.

The Hansen lab conducts interdisciplinary research on the development and validation of new technologies for biological research. Current projects included the use of microfluidic devices for high-throughput live-cell imaging, single cell analysis, proteomics and genomics.

Research in the Hansen lab is generally directed towards the development and application of next-generation high throughput instrumentation based on scalable microfluidics. In particular our group specializes in microfluidic technology based on Multilayer Soft Lithography, a technique that allows for the rapid prototyping and production of devices having thousands of integrated microvalves, pumps, and mixers. This platform technology has opened the door to a myriad of biological applications that can directly benefit from the improved sensitivity, parallelization and economy of scale afforded by microfluidic technologies. Our research is highly interdisciplinary and is generally in close collaboration with biology and biomedical researchers at the Institute for Systems Biology, the BC Cancer Research Center, and the University of British Columbia. Through these collaborations we have active projects related to mammalian and bacterial cell culture, single cell genetic analysis, high throughput proteomics, and medical diagnostics. Some examples of current research projects include:

  1. Microfluidic sample prep for high-throughput proteomics: We are developing integrated microfluidic systems for multidimensional separation of biological samples prior to analysis by MALDI mass spectrometry.
  2. Dynamic live cell imaging: We have developed high throughput instrumentation that combines addressable microfluidic fluid handling with time lapse fluorescent and brightfield live cell microscopy. These systems are being used for studies of protein signaling dynamics and optimization of stem cell culture.
  3. Profiling miRNA abundance from single cells: In this project we are applying commercially available microfluidic devices to the large scale profiling of miRNA species from FACS isolated primary stem cells. In complement to this study we are developing custom microfluidic systems for very high throughput focused analysis of a small panel of identified microRNA species in single cells.


PhD, Applied Physics
California Institute of Technology, 2004

Aimee Dudley
Use of microfluidic systems for systems studies of p-body formation in budding yeast.
Development of technologies to support large scale synthetic biology.