Hydrodynamically Confined Microfluidics for Single Cell Measurements

K.T. Turner, K.V. Christ
University of Pennsylvania, US

Keywords: microfluidic probe, single cell, cell adhesion


Microfluidics have proven to be a useful tool in cell biology as they allow for precise control of chemistry and hydrodynamic loads at the scale of single cells. Channel-based microfluidics can be difficult to employ for some single cell measurements though, as it can be challenging to culture certain types of cells in small closed channels and they offer limited ability to select specific cells of interest. In this work, we report on the design, fabrication, and use of a hydrodynamically confined mircrofluidc probe that allows a local microfluidic flow to be created in an open fluid environment such as a Petri dish or multi-well plate. Specifically, computational fluid dynamics modeling and flow characterization is used to investigate the fluid mechanics that governs the design of hydrodynamic confined flows and a silicon microfluidic probe is fabricated. The HCM probe is used to characterize the adhesion strength of patterned single cells (3T3 fibroblasts) on glass surfaces coated with an extracellular matrix (ECM) protein. The strength of cell-ECM adhesion is critical in understanding numerous diseases and in the development of implantable biomaterials.