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Reversible cell trapping in microfluidic channels using hydrogels

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Seminar Details
Presenter Name: 
Jonas Flueckiger
Faculty Supervisor(s): 
Karen.Cheung
Date: 
Monday, June 23, 2008 - 1:30pm
Location: 
Kaiser 2020
Seminar Abstract: 

Until recently cell studies were carried out on cultures which were
grown on a planar surface or by keeping the cells suspended in a liquid
medium. However the extracellular matrix (ECM) and the 3D environment
affect cell-cell interactions, cell growth, adhesion, differentiation,
and proliferation. The use of microfluidic technology provides the tools
for creating more in-vivo-like environments. In this study we use
hydrogels to trap and release cells inside a microfluidic channel, since
miniaturization allows us to manipulate small numbers of cells.
Hydrogels are used as biomaterials for tissue engineering due to their
resemblance to the natural extracellular matrix and their
non-cytotoxicity. The porous nature of these gels allows the transport
of nutrient and waste. The gel network can also present specific
adhesive properties for attachment of cells. By choosing polymers that
reversibly undergo gel formation by changes in environmental conditions,
such as temperature or ionic factors, cell trapping and release can be
triggered externally. PNiPAAm and its copolymers have shown promising
results in the encapsulation of cells due to the mild conditions under
which gelation occurs and due to its resemblance to the extra cellular
matrix (ECM). This work presents a step towards cell encapsulation for
cell culturing inside a microfluidic chip. PNiPAAm in pure water has an
LCST of 32-34°C, hence at a physiological temperature of 37°C the system
is in its gel state and cells can be trapped.

Presenter Biography: 

Jonas Flueckiger was born in Madiswil, Switzerland in 1983. He started
his studies at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne,
where he received his Bachelor of Science in Microtechnolgy three years
later in 2005. His last year for his Bachelor degree he spent at the
Royal Institute of Technology KTH in Stockholm, Sweden. He received his
Master of Science from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in
2007. Currently he works at the University of British Columbia (MINA
group, Dr. Karen Cheung) as a visiting scholar.