Emmanuel Delamarche

Pathologists might have the hardest job on earth: from a biopsy and tiny tissue section, they bring hope or tears by finding if patients have a tumor or not. They have to assess how bad a tumor is and what therapy is recommended. I will describe a technology that may help them. But for this we need first to shape liquids and precisely bring the right chemicals in micro-areas of tissue sections. And unlike most approaches taken so far where samples are put inside instruments, we scan the sample with a microfluidic probe. I will explain how such a microfluidic probe can retrieve important local information from tissue sections and why this can be a game changing technology in the landscape of pathology and cancer.


Emmanuel Delamarche is a scientist working at the research lab of IBM in Zurich. He studied chemistry (in Toulouse, France) and joined IBM Research, Zurich in 1992 for his Ph.D. in biochemistry with an academic affiliation to the University of Zurich. He then worked on surface patterning techniques involving scanning probe methods, self-assembled monolayers, soft lithography, and microfluidics. He currently leads research on “experimental biosciences” with the goal of solving medical problems using microfluidics, micro- and nanotechnology in collaboration with biological and medical experts. His current projects deal with investigating intercellular pathways relevant to neurodegenerative diseases, developing new techniques for tissue section analysis, and microfluidics for point-of-care testing diagnostics.

His favourite TEDTalk: