ELUCIDATING THE INTERACTIONS BETWEEN CELLS AND THEIR DYNAMIC MICROENVIRONMENT AT THE SINGLE-CELL LEVEL USING MICROFLUIDICS

ELUCIDATING THE INTERACTIONS BETWEEN CELLS AND THEIR DYNAMIC MICROENVIRONMENT AT THE SINGLE-CELL LEVEL USING MICROFLUIDICS

Microfluidic devices offer a robust analytical approach, allowing for rapid analysis of cell assays in a parallel manner to investigate complex cell behaviors. Microfluidic devices have many advantages over a macroscopic setting, including reduced sample/reagent volume, high surface-to-volume ratios, an improved control of the physical/chemical microenvironments, and high throughput/automatic capabilities. Our group is using these microfluidic devices for elucidating complex cellular dynamics (e.g. stem cell differentiation and cancer cell apoptosis) and for advancing tissue engineering. Multiple cell culture chambers, which can provide a 3D culture environment that mimics the in vivo microenvironment and enables unidirectional flow, can be incorporated into a single chip, providing a closely related microenvironment for performing multi-parameter screening and analysis with great fidelity. In addition, the transparent nature of a microfluidic chip made of PDMS and glass allows for convenient integration with an optical microscope for real-time fate mapping of individual cells. Furthermore, the biocompatible and gas-permeable properties of PDMS help to retain proper physiological conditions for cells cultured in the devices. This technology will be utilized to achieve a better understanding of how microenvironmental cues and intrinsic regulators control stem cell behaviors such as differentiation and migration at the single cell level.

Schematic diagram of our microfluidics-based applications to control the stem cell fate. (In collaboration with Prof. Noori Jeon, SNU, Korea and Prof. Hsian-Rong Tseng, UCLA)

Key publications from our group:

1. Kamei, K.-I.; Yu, Z. T. F.; Guo, S.; Takahashi, H.; Gschweng, E.; Wang, X.; Suh, C.; Tang, J.; Witte, O. W.; Lee, K.-B. ; Tseng, H.-R., “An integrated microfluidic culture device for quantitative analysis of human embryonic stem cells”, Lab Chip, 2009, 9, 555-563.
2. Yu, Z. T. F.; Kamei, K.-I.; Shu, C. J.; He, G. W.; Silverman, R.; Radu, C. G.; Witte, O. W.; Lee, K.-B.; Tseng, H.-R., ” Integrated microfluidic devices for combinatorial cell-based assays”, Biomedical Microdevices, 2009, 11, 547- 555.
3. Sun, J. et al. , “A microfluidic platform for systems pathology: multiparameter single-cell signaling measurements of clinical brain tumor specimens”, Cancer Research, 2010, 70 (15), 6128-6138.