Microfluidic Tools for Cell Mechanics

3D microfluidic environments for studying cell motility under controlled gradients

We have experience developing custom microfabricated environments for studying 3D cell motility. This project involved deep reactive ion etching (DRIE) of silicon molds to achieve high aspect ratio (~100:1) features with lateral dimensions as low as 2um. We optimized a PDMS micromolding and bonding process for these devices and developed fluid interfacing strategies to enable researchers to deliver controlled chemoattractant gradients within these devices for studying cell migration under confocal microscopy.

The cell migration chamber featured a dense array of posts through which the cells would “crawl”. The chip was designed with two large bus channels separated from the cell migration chamber by diffusion barriers. This established a linear diffusion gradient across the migration chamber.