Microfluidics has emerged in recent years as a versatile method of manipulating fluids at small length-scales, and in particular, for generating and manipulating micron size droplets with controllable size and functionality. For example, many research groups developed microfluidics devices for cell encapsulation, and synthesizing functionalized polymer microspheres and inorganic nanoparticles with precise control over their shapes and sizes. In this talk, I will showcase 2 microfluidic platforms to highlight their versatility and potential biomedical applications.
(1) Droplet microfluidic platforms
(a) A droplet microfluidics method to fabricate alginate microspheres while simultaneously immobilizing anti-Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex IgY and anti-Escherichia coli IgG antibodies primarily on the porous alginate carriers for specific binding and binding affinity tests. The binding affinity of antibodies is directly measured by fluorescence intensity of stained target bacteria on the microspheres. We demonstrate that the functionalized alginate microspheres yield specificity comparable with an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. We can easily modify the size and shape of alginate microspheres, and increase the concentration of functionalized alginate microspheres to further enhance binding kinetics and enable multiplexing.
(b) A novel droplet microfluidics method to image oxygen in single islets (pancreatic cells) for glucose sensing. Individual islets and a fluorescent oxygen-sensitive dye were encased within a thin alginate polymer microcapsule for insulin secretion monitoring. The sensing system operated similarly from 2-48 hours following encapsulation, and viability and function of the islets were not significantly affected by the encapsulation process. This approach should be applicable to other cell types and dyes sensitive to other biologically important molecules.
(2) A microfluidic chamber to perform uniform electric field stimulation in circular shaped culturewares
A 3D computer-aided designed (CAD) polymeric insert is designed and retrofitted to circular shaped culturewares in an integrated microfluidic electrical stimulation platform to generate uniform EF with higher cell yields. In particular, NIH/3T3 mouse embryonic fibroblast cells are used to validate the performance of the 3D designed Poly(methyl methacrylate) (PMMA) inserts in a circular-shaped 6-well plate. The CAD based inserts can be easily scaled up to further increase effective stimulation area percentages, and also be implemented in commercially available culturewares for a wide variety of EF-related research such as EF-cell interaction and tissue regeneration studies.
Amy Shen, "Getting the most from microfluidic platforms for biomedical applications
(Conference Presentation)," Proc. SPIE 9705, Microfluidics, BioMEMS, and Medical Microsystems XIV, 970510 (Presented at SPIE BiOS: February 15, 2016; Published: 26 April 2016); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2220733.4848702698001.
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