Cell taxis

  June 23/30, 2008
A biochip that generates microscopic droplets and separates large populations of cells one to a droplet promises to improve medical and biological research. The biochip evenly spaces cells as they flow through a microchannel, the end of which pinches the fluid into picoliter droplets. A picoliter is a trillionth of a liter, which is about 20,000 times smaller than an everyday drop of water.

The device makes it more practical to, for example, stain a population of cells with a fluorescent dye to monitor them, and then apply different chemicals, genetic material or viruses to individual cells in order to carry out many experiments at once.

Research paper:
Controlled Encapsulation of Single-Cells into Monodisperse Picolitre Drops
Lab on a Chip, published online June 13, 2008

Researchers' homepages:
The Center for Engineering in Medicine
Experimental Soft Condensed Matter Group
Daniel Irimia
Mehmet Toner

Related stories and briefs:
Biochip makes droplet test tubes
Biochip levitates droplets
Biochip holds millions of vessels

Back to TRN June 23/30, 2008

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