This special collection of Biomicrofluidics serves as a Festschrift to honor Professor Hsueh-Chia Chang, Bayer Professor at the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, University of Notre Dame. We acknowledge not only his role as Chief and Founding Editor of Biomicrofluidics (from 2006 through 2018) but also his seminal contributions as a researcher in micro/nanofluidics, particularly in the area of nanoelectrokinetics. This research has also been recognized by the 2018 Lifetime Achievement Award of the AES Electrophoresis Society to him.
My colleagues and I were first alerted to Chia's work on dielectrophoresis through his papers of 2007, with coauthors such as Sagnik Basuray and Zach Gagnon. However, his extraordinary broad contributions to the topic of this Festschrift only became appreciated by us on the publication of his book with Leslie Yeo (Electrokinetically Driven Microfluidics and Nanofluidics, published by Cambridge University Press in 2010). This book is crammed full of insightful concepts. I do not know whether Chia and Leslie were influenced by Chuang Tzu, the greatest of Daoist philosophers, who stated, “The purpose of words is to create ideas. When the ideas are grasped, the words are forgotten. Where can I find a man who has forgotten words? He is the one I would like to talk to.” Well, in any case, Chuang Tzu would have enjoyed talking to Chia.
Herbert Pohl, a name well known to those interested in the subject of dielectrophoresis, once remarked to me that senior scientists should act rather as oak trees and provide shelter and growing conditions to their younger colleagues. A large number of Chia's former Ph.D. students have posts in major universities throughout the world, and all of those who were contacted (Sagnik Basuray, Yeng-Long Chen, Zilin Chen, Zach Gagnon, Zdenek Slouka, Gong-Chen Sun, and Paul Wang)1–6 responded enthusiastically to the invitation to contribute to this Festschrift. This surely indicates that Chia has been exemplary in his responsibilities as a mature oak tree, and just as surely he will have pride in knowing how his acorns have thrived. He will also be pleased to know that other key contributors to his broad research field (namely, Jennifer Dodoo, Lisa Flanagan, Pablo Garcia-Sanchez, Sandip Ghosal, Mark Hayes, Blanca Lapizco-Encinas, Victor Martin, Dmitry Matyushov, Hywel Morgan, Michihiko Nakano, Georg Pesch, Antonio Ramos, Adam Stokes, Junya Suehiro, and Stuart Williams)7–15 have so willingly made contributions to this Festschrift, in some cases as joint efforts between their laboratories. Acting as representatives of Biomicrofluidics, the new Editor-in-Chief (Leslie Yeo), the Journal Managers (Joseph Castellano and Matthew Kershis), and the peer review manager (Christine Urso) have made my privileged role as Guest Editor an enjoyable and easy task. As he hands over his role as Editor-in-Chief to Leslie, we all wish for Chia to enjoy many more years of fruitful research at Notre Dame.