Alar Ainla

Staff Researcher
Microfabrication and Exploratory Nanotechnology

Alar is a staff researcher at INL, Microfabrication and Exploratory Nanotechnology, where his research is focused on the developments of integrated sensors and sensing systems.
Alar has background in applied sciences and engineering. He received BSc cum laude from University of Tartu (Estonia) in applied physics and information technology, after which he continued studies in organic and polymer chemistry at Uppsala University (Sweden). He obtained MSc in nanoscience and technology from Chalmers University of Technology (Sweden) and PhD in chemistry from the same university. His doctoral research at Chalmers was focused on microfluidic tools for biosciences. During his PhD, he invented a novel approach, how to apply microfluidics in single-cell studies and developed it from the idea into a product. After graduation, he joined Prof. George Whitesides group at Harvard University (US) as a postdoc. His research areas at Harvard included paper-and thread-based analytical devices, electrochemistry, microfluidics and soft-robotics.
Besides academic research Alar has also keen interest in science and technology based entrepreneurship, he has been founder of startups, bringing to market two different scientific products. His main roles in startups have been technology- and product development and intellectual property management (patenting process). In Harvard, he was a member of venture incubation program in Harvard Innovation Labs. He has also taken part of other innovation and entrepreneurship courses and programs in Chalmers and in Harvard Business School.

Selected Publications

  • Alar Ainla, Max M. Hamedi, Firat Güder & George M. Whitesides
    Electrical Textile Valves for Paper Microfluidics
    Advanced Materials 29(38), 2017
  • Alar Ainla, Mohit S. Verma, Dian Yang & George M. Whitesides
     Soft, Rotating, Pneumatic Actuator
    Soft Robotics 4(3), 2017
  • Sergey N Semenov, Lewis J Kraft, Alar Ainla, Mengxia Zhao, Mostafa Baghbanzadeh, Victoria E Campbell, Kyungtae Kang, Jerome M Fox & George M Whitesides.
    “Autocatalytic, bistable, oscillatory networks of biologically relevant organic reactions”
    Nature 537 (7622), 656-660, 2016
  • Firat Güder, Alar Ainla, Julia Redston, Bobak Mosadegh, Ana Glavan, TJ Martin & George M Whitesides.
    Paper‐Based Electrical Respiration Sensor
    Angewandte Chemie 128 (19), 5821-5826, 2016
  • Alar Ainla, Gavin DM Jeffries, Ralf Brune, Owe Orwar & Aldo Jesorka
    A multifunctional pipette
    Lab on a Chip, 12 (7), 1255-1261, 2012