Liquid-hydrogel Hybrid Microfluidic Device


Measurement device for detecting of single-cell dynamics under environment perturbations or drug treatment.

Key Benefits

  • Fast determination of drug sensitivity.
  • Long-term continuous cell-fate tracking.
  • Time-lapse analysis of cell proliferation.
  • Cell community analysis: intra-species interactions, inter-species interactions.

Market Summary

The global market for microfluidic devices has been rapidly rising. The main reason behind this rise is the multifunctionality of microfluidic devices especially in the fields of life sciences and the pharmaceutical industry as well as the cost effectiveness of utilizing hydrogels. The current invention has an advantage in this industry in that it has a wide range of potential applications from detecting rare cells to host pathogen interaction. As research and development departments from various industries continue to invest more into microfluidic devices the wide-reaching application of the current invention has the potential to be in high demand from these industries.

Technical Summary

Researchers at Emory developed devices for the purpose of continuous, noninvasive gradual observation of cell behavior and molecular events with a primary focus on bacterial cells and compatible eukaryotic cells with modifications. The devices consist of three layers a flow channel, a hydrogel layer, and cell growth chamber. The flow channel is placed beneath the hydrogel layer, which allows for continuous passage of growth media, alternating cultural nutrient conditions, and drug treatment. The hydrogel layer facilitates continuous exchange of treatment reagents, nutrients, waste products, and gases between the microfluidic liquid channel and cell growth chambers. The growth chamber is minimized for bacterial growth, so the cell grows as single layer colonies above the hydrogel layer. The hydrogel layers consist of growth supporting media that is mixed with natural or synthetic polymers such as collagen, gelatin, agarose, fibrin, and acrylic polymer. The bottom of the growth chamber is to be coated to support adhesive eukaryote cell experiment growth and can be filled with another layer of hydrogel to assist 3D cell culture microscopic observations.

Developmental Stage

Proof of concept demonstrated.

Patent Information

Tech ID: 20069
Published: 12/20/2022