Since 2016, a new version of that herculean effort is underway, known as the Human Cell Atlas.
Microfluidics is a cutting-edge area of science that non-scientists rarely hear about. By taking advantage of the physical properties of fluids at extremely small scales, biochemical analysis can be performed at significantly faster speeds than it would otherwise take for a full-scale lab test to run. In some cases, that means that work that would have taken days can now be done in minutes, at far lower cost. In some ways, it's the biochemical equivalent of the microchip. These "labs-on-a-chip" can be used to perform certain tasks, such as anthrax detection, DNA sequencing, and manipulation of single cells.
Aaron Streets, a UC Berkeley professor of bioengineering, is one of the leading researchers in this field. Streets completed his Bachelor’s in Physics and Art at UCLA and his doctorate in Applied Physics at Stanford. He then went to Beijing, China to conduct postdoctoral research at Peking University. Streets joined the faculty of UC Berkeley as an Assistant Professor in Bioengineering in 2016 and is currently a core member of the Biophysics Program and the Center for Computational Biology. He was recently named a Chan Zuckerberg Biohub investigator.
Join Ars Technica editors Cyrus Farivar and David Kravets in conversation with Aaron Streets at the next Ars Technica Live on September 20 at Eli's Mile High Club in Oakland.