Colloquium Series WS 2018/2019 by the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering
The proper responses of cells to mechanical stimuli are important in numerous physiological processes. With the development of microsystem engineering tools, controlled and repeatable application of active mechanical input to single cells is becoming more available. Several microfluidic platforms have been developed for mechanotransduction research over the last decade that many focus applying a single mechanical perturbation and often to a population of cells. Here we develop a multilayer polydimethoxysilane (PDMS)-based microfluidic device with the goal of applying controlled aspiration and compression to single cells. Two independent pneumatically controlled channels above the flow channel serve to facilitate cell loading and compression when they are actuated. As a model system of cell and to demonstrate the salient features of our device, we generated water-oil-water double emulsion droplets and demonstrated trapping, aspiration, and compression of double emulsion droplets. More recently, we have combined this with microcontact printing to confine the size of single cells and investigate the effect of static vs. cyclic compressive stress to single cells. Our unique and versatile microfluidic compression device will provide tremendous opportunities for future single cell mechanotransduction studies. At the end, I will also briefly describe our efforts in engineering artificial cells for biomedical applications.
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