Albert Folch Folch
|Albert Folch Folch|
September 25, 1966 |
|Citizenship||Spain and U.S.A.|
|Institutions||University of Washington (Seattle), M.I.T., Harvard|
|Alma mater||University of Barcelona, Spain|
|Doctoral advisor||Javier Tejada (University of Barcelona, Physics Dept.)|
|Known for||Microfluidics, BioMEMS, Scientific Art.|
|Notable awards||NSF CAREER Award (2000), NASA's Space Act Award (2006), AIMBE College of Fellows (2015)|
Albert Folch Folch is a Catalan scientist, writer, and artist.
Albert Folch (pronounced Folk) was born in Barcelona (Spain) in 1966. He received his B.Sc. in Physics from the University of Barcelona (U.B.) in 1989. In 1994, he received his Ph.D. in Surface Science and Nanotechnology from the U.B.’s Physics Dept. under Dr. Javier Tejada's supervision. During his Ph.D. he was also a visiting scientist (1990–91) at the Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory (Berkeley, California) working on Atomic Force Microscopy under Dr. Miquel Salmeron. From 1994–1996, he was a postdoc at M.I.T. developing microdevices under the advice of Martin A. Schmidt (EECS Dept.) and Mark S. Wrighton (Chemistry). In 1997, he joined the laboratory of Dr. Mehmet Toner as a postdoc at Harvard University’s Center for Engineering in Medicine to work on BioMEMS and Tissue Engineering. In 2000 he joined the University of Washington's Dept. of Bioengineering (Seattle), where he is an Associate Professor. In 2001 he received a National Science Foundation CAREER Award and in 2014 he was elected to the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE) College of Fellows (Class of 2015). He serves on the Advisory Board of Lab on a Chip, the leading BioMEMS journal.
Scientific research and teaching
Albert Folch's lab works at the interface between neurobiology, cancer, and microfluidics. The lab is best known for its microfluidic devices, such as the microfluidic photomasks (that were featured in the New York Times), a combinatorial micromixer (featured in The Washington Post ), and a microwell array for optically recording from large numbers of olfactory sensory neurons. However, the long-term goals of the Folch lab are to produce 3D-printed devices that facilitate access to cancer therapies, in particular personalized chemotherapy and immunotherapy.
The Folch Lab produces microscopy images of microchannels and cells that then it uses to run an artistic outreach program called "BAIT", short for "Bringing Art Into Technology". The idea is that the micrographs act as baits to entice people to read the accompanying texts (the science) displayed next to the images. Hence, one comes to the exhibit for an artistic experience and leaves having actually learned some science. While a few of the micrographs are exhibited as obtained by the students without much modification, most pieces are collages, mosaics, and/or mixed-media montages (containing actual devices) made by Albert Folch. However, Albert Folch considers each piece a "collaboration" between him and his students (who are always credited by name, as in a scientific publication).
The Folch Lab art collection now consists of more than 60 printed/framed pieces and is already in its fourth major exhibit. The largest exhibit was at the University of Washington Allen Library in 2010 and the most recent one was during the 2013 Biomedical Engineering Society meeting in the Seattle Convention Center.
Albert Folch's artistic activity extends into graphic design. He has designed the logo for the University of Washington Bioengineering Department and the Folch lab art has been used in a number of brochures of scientific venues. Since 2010, Albert Folch also acts as Art Editor for the journal Lab on a Chip, running the "Art on a Chip" website.
Albert Folch has written two general science books in Catalan (translated titles: Caught on the Internet and The Science in Soccer), a textbook in English (Introduction to BioMEMS), and a book about soccer in English (For the Love of the Ball").
Caught on the Internet (Editorial Empuries, 1997) teaches what the Internet is about to computer-illiterate audiences, starting from bits and bytes and ending with issues such as social fairness and hackers. This book is in its second edition and an extract of it is used in a textbook for Catalan middle schoolers.
The Science in Soccer (Editorial Empuries, 2004) uses soccer examples to convey science. The book is organized in chapters related to various soccer subjects ("The ball", "The field", "The player", etc.). Inside each chapter we find the answers to questions such as what it would be like to play soccer in each of the planets of the Solar System, why the ball is more than one meter ahead of where we think it really is in a 100 km/h kick (due to delays in the transmission of the nervous impulse), or why soccer balls are made of 12 pentagons and 20 hexagons, etc. This book is also available in e-reader format.
Introduction to BioMEMS (CRC Press, 2012) covers the whole breadth of BioMEMS (Biomedical MicroElectroMechanicalSystems), including classical microfabrication, microfluidics, tissue engineering, cell-based and noncell-based devices, and implantable systems.
For the Love of the Ball (Amazon, 2013) tells the history and methods of FC Barcelona's youth academy. Albert Folch also keeps a related blog site, titled La Ciencia del Fútbol, where he talks about FC Barcelona's present state of affairs with a scientific perspective.
Albert Folch also created a large Catalan Poetry Selection. This webpage, originally hosted by M.I.T. and manually typed in 1995 just one year after the World Wide Web started, was, at the time, the first online literary resource of its kind and size in any language. Still widely visited, the selection features 800 poems and 176 Catalan poets spanning ten centuries, including 24 unpublished poets.
Awards and honors
- 2000 NSF CAREER Award.
- 2006 NASA’s Space Act Award.
- 2009 Art exhibit at Harborview Medical Center (March’09).
- 2009 Art exhibit at UW Meany Theater (Sep’09-Sep’10).
- 2010 Art exhibit at the University of Washington Allen Library (Nov’10-Mar’11).
- 2013 Art exhibit at the 2013 Biomedical Engineering Society Meeting (Seattle, Oct'13)
- 2014 Elected to the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE) College of Fellows (Class of 2015)
- Folch Lab featured in the press: New York Times (2/20/2003, Technology section), Science News (Feb 15 2003 issue), Physics World (3/2003 issue), Materials Today (4/2003 issue), Photonics Spectra (4/2003 issue), BioPhotonics World (5/2003 issue), Proto magazine (by the Mass General Hospital, Fall 2008 issue), Washington Post (10/28/2008, Health section), and UWTV (Jan 2012), among others.
- "Albert Folch Biosketch". Faculty.washington.edu. Retrieved 2011-10-25.
- "''Lab on a Chip'' website". Pubs.rsc.org. Retrieved 2011-10-25.
- "Folch Lab Homepage". Faculty.washington.edu. Retrieved 2011-10-25.
- "New York Times article on the Folch lab's microfluidic photomasks". Nytimes.com. 2003-02-20. Retrieved 2011-10-25.
- "Washington Post article on the Folch lab's combinatorial micromixer". Faculty.washington.edu. Retrieved 2011-10-25.
- "Press coverage on (and link to) a Folch Lab paper on olfactory sensory neurons in a microwell array". Rsc.org. 2007-06-13. Retrieved 2011-10-25.
- Albert Folch. "Link to BioMEMS course taught by Albert Folch". Courses.washington.edu. Retrieved 2011-10-25.
- "Folch Lab ART Webpage". Faculty.washington.edu. Retrieved 2011-10-25.
- "Folch Lab Exhibit at UW Allen Library". Picasaweb.google.com. 2010-11-10. Retrieved 2011-10-25.
- "Folch Lab Exhibit at 2013 BMES meeting". Picasaweb.google.com. 2013-10-30. Retrieved 2013-10-30.
- "Brochures designed by the Folch Lab". Folch Lab. Retrieved 2014-06-15.
- "Art on a Chip website". Flickr.com. Retrieved 2011-10-25.
- "Link to Albert Folch's textbook, "Introduction to BioMEMS", published by CRC Press (528 pages)". CRC Press. 2012-03-15. Retrieved 2012-04-27.
- "Link to Albert Folch's book on FC Barcelona's youth academy, "For the Love of the Ball"". 2013-10-20. Retrieved 2013-11-20.
- "Link to Albert Folch's blogsite, "La Ciencia del Fútbol" (afolch.blogspot.com)". 2014-05-01. Retrieved 2014-05-01.
- "Selection of Catalan Poetry by Albert Folch". Lletra.uoc.edu. Retrieved 2011-10-25.
- "Link to UWTV feature program on BAIT". 2012-01-10. Retrieved 2013-11-20.