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SELECTBIO Conferences Microfluidics, Liquid Handling and LAB-ON-A-CHIP


Microfabricated Pillar Arrays for Probing Cellular Adhesion and Motility

Feroz M.H. Musthafa, Technology Manager, Microfluidics and Microfabrication Facility, C-CAMP

Microfluidics and microfabricated surface patterns are starting to be of growing importance in various disciplines of science, especially in biology. The possibility of addressing very small volumes and single cells is beginning to be leveraged using microstructures made of inert polymers like polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS), polycarbonate (PC), etc. are being used to construct a varying array of fluidic circuits [1-6], designs of localized proteins [7-9], and 3-dimensional structures [10]. Microfluidic circuits have been used to construct devices that shrink the reaction volumes, sort small numbers of cells with very high fidelity as well as being able to perform single cell analyses. Recent advancements in this field include cell stretchers [1], cell sorters [2], centrifugal cell synchronizer [5], oligonucleotide synthesizer [11], single cell mRNA expression analyzer [12], cell trap [13], cancer cell isolator [14, 15], etc. Micro-contact printing [16] and designs of polymer microstructures [17, 18] have been used to understand the interactions of cells with their microenvironment and to modulate the physical characteristics, gene expression profile, and lineage specification of a variety of differentiated cell lines and stem cells. Here, I would be discussing, two such experiments we conducted where we used micropillar arrays as a means of measuring forces exerted by cells on the substrate and also, in conjunction with microfluidics, as a means to exert stretch forces on the cells with defined substrate stiffnesses. A facility for local design and manufacture would remove this barrier. Towards this, we have setup a microfabrication facility aimed towards biology research at NCBS/C-CAMP.

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