Technology Listings

Microfluidic Cell Holder Device for the Delivery of Therapeutic Agents to Cells


A platform technology to be used to effectively deliver select agents to cells.

Key Benefits
  • Optimizes the in vitro and ex vivo delivery of factors to the nuclei of individual cells.
  • Minimizes the risk of cell damage associated with traditional electroporation techniques.
Technical Summary

Emory investigators have created a cell holder device that traps individual cells on a grid so that they can be manipulated using a number of methods, including microneedle injection or electroporation. The device is a three-layer microfluidic system that contains a loading chamber, a cell holder grid, and a bottom layer that collects cell media. The novelty of this device lies in its multilayer design that captures, holds, and releases cells. Not only can cells be loaded onto the platform while they are in solution, but once loaded, cells are also individually placed on a grid that adjusts to the unique size of individual cells. This is due to a conformal polymer coating that creates a permeability barrier and holds cells tightly in place until they are released by a change in pressure. Moreover, trapped cells can even be levitated by reversing suction until they reach a level appropriate for penetration by microneedles placed at a calibrated distance above the grid.

Our device has substantial advantages over other methods that allow for the permeabilization, infection and monitoring of cells at the single cell level. By creating a high-throughput, high-efficiency system that enhances cell delivery, minimizes the risk of cell damage and can be used for both in ex vivo and in vitro operations, our microfluidic device has potential as a research tool or a clinical device.

Developmental Stage
  • Proof of principle has been established using the cell holder system device.
  • Exhibits superior injection efficiency over traditional electroporation techniques.
    Patent Information
    Tech ID: 11121
    Published: 8/4/2011
    Research Tools
    Medical Device

    Cliff Michaels
    Assistant Director
    Emory University

    Wilbur Lam
    David Myers
    Zhengchun Peng
    Gang Bao

    Cell/Gene Therapy