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Author: John P Wikswo (92)


Dec
1969

Microphysiological systems (MPS), which include engineered organoids (EOs), single organ/tissue chips (TCs), and multiple organs interconnected to create miniature in vitro models of human physiological systems, are rapidly becoming effective tools for drug development and the mechanistic understanding of tissue physiology and pathophysiology. The second MPS thematic issue of Experimental Biology and Medicine comprises 15 articles by scientists and engineers from the National Institutes of Health, the IQ Consortium, the Food and Drug Administration, and Environmental Protection Agency, an MPS company, and academia. Topics include the progress, challenges, and future of organs-on-chips, dissemination of TCs into Pharma, children's health protection, liver zonation, liver chips and their coupling to interconnected systems, gastrointestinal MPS, maturation of immature cardiomyocytes in a heart-on-a-chip, coculture of multiple cell types in a human skin construct, use of synthetic hydrogels to create EOs that form neural tissue models, the blood-brain barrier-on-a-chip, MPS models of coupled female reproductive organs, coupling MPS devices to create a body-on-a-chip, and the use of a microformulator to recapitulate endocrine circadian rhythms.

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Dec
1969

Organs-on-Chips (OoCs) are poised to reshape dramatically the study of biology by replicating in vivo the function of individual and coupled human organs. Such microphysiological systems (MPS) have already recreated complex physiological responses necessary to simulate human organ function not evident in two-dimensional in vitro biological experiments. OoC researchers hope to streamline pharmaceutical development, accelerate toxicology studies, limit animal testing, and provide new insights beyond the capability of current biological models.

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Jun
2017

John is the founding Director of the Vanderbilt Institute for Integrative Biosystems Research and Education (VIIBRE). He is also the Gordon A Cain University Professor; a B learned Professor of Living State Physics; and a Professor of Biomedical Engineering, Molecular Physiology and Biophysics, and Physics. John earned his PhD in physics at Stanford University (CA, USA).

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Dec
1969

We developed mammary imaging windows (MIWs) to evaluate leukocyte infiltration and cancer cell dissemination in mouse mammary tumors imaged by confocal microscopy. Previous techniques relied on surgical resection of a skin flap to image the tumor microenvironment restricting imaging time to a few hours. Utilization of mammary imaging windows offers extension ofimaging of the tumor microenvironment.

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Feb
2017

Organ interactions resulting from drug, metabolite or xenobiotic transport between organs are key components of human metabolism that impact therapeutic action and toxic side effects. Preclinical animal testing often fails to predict adverse outcomes arising from sequential, multi-organ metabolism of drugs and xenobiotics. Human microphysiological systems (MPS) can model these interactions and are predicted to dramatically improve the efficiency of the drug development process.

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Mar
2017

An understanding of how cells respond to perturbation is essential for biological applications; however, most approaches for profiling cellular response are limited in scope to pre-established targets. Global analysis of molecular mechanism will advance our understanding of the complex networks constituting cellular perturbation and lead to advancements in areas, such as infectious disease pathogenesis, developmental biology, pathophysiology, pharmacology, and toxicology. We have developed a high-throughput multiomics platform for comprehensive, de novo characterization of cellular mechanisms of action.

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Dec
2016

Understanding blood-brain barrier responses to inflammatory stimulation (such as lipopolysaccharide mimicking a systemic infection or a cytokine cocktail that could be the result of local or systemic inflammation) is essential to understanding the effect of inflammatory stimulation on the brain. It is through the filter of the blood-brain barrier that the brain responds to outside influences, and the blood-brain barrier is a critical point of failure in neuroinflammation. It is important to note that this interaction is not a static response, but one that evolves over time.

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Dec
1969

Engineered 3D cardiac tissue constructs (ECTCs) can replicate complex cardiac physiology under normal and pathological conditions. Currently, most measurements of ECTC contractility are either made isometrically, with fixed length and without control of the applied force, or auxotonically against a variable force, with the length changing during the contraction. The "I-Wire" platform addresses the unmet need to control the force applied to ECTCs while interrogating their passive and active mechanical and electrical characteristics.

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Dec
1969

This companion study presents the biomechanical analysis of the "I-Wire" platform using a modified Hill model of muscle mechanics that allows for further characterization of construct function and response to perturbation. The I-Wire engineered cardiac tissue construct (ECTC) is a novel experimental platform to investigate cardiac cell mechanics during auxotonic contraction. Whereas passive biomaterials often exhibit nonlinear and dissipative behavior, active tissue equivalents, such as ECTCs, also expend metabolic energy to perform mechanical work that presents additional challenges in quantifying their properties.

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Aug
2016

The basal lamina or basement membrane (BM) is a key physiological system that participates in physicochemical signaling between tissue types. Its formation and function are essential in tissue maintenance, growth, angiogenesis, disease progression, and immunology. In vitro models of the BM (e.

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Dec
1969

Microfluidic devices have very broad applications in biological assays from simple chemotaxis assays to much more complicated 3D bioreactors. In this chapter, we describe the design and methods for performing chemotaxis assays using simple microfluidic chemotaxis chambers. With these devices, using real-time video microscopy we can examine the chemotactic responses of neutrophil-like cells under conditions of varying gradient steepness or flow rate and then utilize software programs to calculate the speed and angles of cell migration as gradient steepness and flow are varied.

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Sep
2015

The blood-brain barrier (BBB) is a critical structure that serves as the gatekeeper between the central nervous system and the rest of the body. It is the responsibility of the BBB to facilitate the entry of required nutrients into the brain and to exclude potentially harmful compounds; however, this complex structure has remained difficult to model faithfully in vitro. Accurate in vitro models are necessary for understanding how the BBB forms and functions, as well as for evaluating drug and toxin penetration across the barrier.

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Sep
2015

In clinical conditions, amino acid supplementation is applied to improve contractile function, minimize ischemia/reperfusion injury, and facilitate postoperative recovery. It has been shown that glutamine enhances myocardial ATP/APD (action potential duration) and glutathione/oxidized glutathione ratios, and can increase hexosamine biosynthesis pathway flux, which is believed to play a role in cardioprotection. Here, we studied the effect of glutamine and glutamate on electrical activity in Langendorff-perfused rabbit hearts.

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Aug
2015

Real-time monitoring of changes to cellular bioenergetics can provide new insights into mechanisms of action for disease and toxicity. This work describes the development of a multianalyte screen-printed electrode for the detection of analytes central to cellular bioenergetics: glucose, lactate, oxygen, and pH. Platinum screen-printed electrodes were designed in-house and printed by Pine Research Instrumentation.

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May
2015

Secondary metabolite biosynthesis in microorganisms responds to discrete chemical and biological stimuli; however, untargeted identification of these responses presents a significant challenge. Herein we apply multiplexed stimuli to Streptomyces coelicolor and collect the resulting response metabolomes via ion mobility-mass spectrometric analysis. Self-organizing map (SOM) analytics adapted for metabolomic data demonstrate efficient characterization of the subsets of primary and secondary metabolites that respond similarly across stimuli.

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Dec
1969

To address the challenges of tracking the multitude of signaling molecules and metabolites that is the basis of biological complexity, we describe a strategy to expand the analytical techniques for dynamic systems biology. Using microfluidics, online desalting, and mass spectrometry technologies, we constructed and validated a platform well suited for sampling the cellular microenvironment with high temporal resolution. Our platform achieves success in: automated cellular stimulation and microenvironment control; reduced non-specific adsorption to polydimethylsiloxane due to surface passivation; real-time online sample collection; near real-time sample preparation for salt removal; and real-time online mass spectrometry.

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Jan
2015

The new cover of Experimental Biology and Medicine features the hermeneutic circle of biology, a concept we have adapted from the hermeneutic principle that one understands the whole only in terms of each part and the parts only in terms of the whole. Our hermeneutic circle summarizes the course of experimental biology through 2500 years of the achievements of reductionist research (understanding the parts), which culminates in our ability to rapidly sequence the genome. Rather than returning along the same path in a constructionist approach that simply builds upon this knowledge, but in reverse, an alternative is to close the circle with synthetic constructions that seek to integrate the full complexity of biological and physiological systems (understanding the whole), of which organs-on-chips are one example.

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Nov
2014

Maternal immune activation and subsequent interleukin-6 (IL-6) induction disrupt normal brain development and predispose the offspring to developing autism and schizophrenia. While several proteins have been identified as having some link to these developmental disorders, their prevalence is still small and their causative role, if any, is not well understood. However, understanding the metabolic consequences of environmental predisposing factors could shed light on disorders such as autism and schizophrenia.

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Dec
2014

Multianalyte microphysiometry is a powerful technique for studying cellular metabolic flux in real time. Monitoring several analytes concurrently in a number of individual chambers, however, requires specific instrumentation that is not available commercially in a single, compact, benchtop form at an affordable cost. We developed a multipotentiostat system capable of performing simultaneous amperometric and potentiometric measurements in up to eight individual chambers.

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Sep
2014

Microphysiological systems (MPS), consisting of interacting organs-on-chips or tissue-engineered, 3D organ constructs that use human cells, present an opportunity to bring new tools to biology, medicine, pharmacology, physiology, and toxicology. This issue of Experimental Biology and Medicine describes the ongoing development of MPS that can serve as in-vitro models for bone and cartilage, brain, gastrointestinal tract, lung, liver, microvasculature, reproductive tract, skeletal muscle, and skin. Related topics addressed here are the interconnection of organs-on-chips to support physiologically based pharmacokinetics and drug discovery and screening, and the microscale technologies that regulate stem cell differentiation.

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Nov
2014

The human body is a complex assembly of physiological systems designed to manage the multidirectional transport of both information and nutrients. An intricate interplay between the nervous, circulatory, and secretory systems is therefore necessary to sustain life, allow delivery of nutrients and therapeutic drugs, and eliminate metabolic waste products and toxins. These systems also provide vulnerable routes for modification by substances of abuse.

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May
2014

Cytometric studies utilizing flow cytometry or multi-well culture plate fluorometry are often limited by a deficit in temporal resolution and a lack of single cell consideration. Unfortunately, many cellular processes, including signaling, motility, and molecular transport, occur transiently over relatively short periods of time and at different magnitudes between cells. Here we demonstrate the multitrap nanophysiometer (MTNP), a low-volume microfluidic platform housing an array of cell traps, as an effective tool that can be used to study individual unattached cells over time with precise control over the intercellular microenvironment.

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Nov
2014

Techniques and assays for the study of angiogenesis.

Exp Biol Med (Maywood) 2014 Nov 28;239(11):1476-88. Epub 2014 May 28.
Michael W Irvin, Andries Zijlstra, John P Wikswo, Ambra Pozzi
The importance of studying angiogenesis, the formation of new blood vessels from pre-existing vessels, is underscored by its involvement in both normal physiology, such as embryonic growth and wound healing, and pathologies, such as diabetes and cancer. Treatments targeting the molecular drive of angiogenesis have been developed, but many of the molecular mechanisms that mediate vascularization, as well as how these mechanisms can be targeted in therapy, remain poorly understood. The limited capacity to quantify angiogenesis properly curtails our molecular understanding and development of new drugs and therapies.

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Jul
2014

A metabolic system is composed of inherently interconnected metabolic precursors, intermediates, and products. The analysis of untargeted metabolomics data has conventionally been performed through the use of comparative statistics or multivariate statistical analysis-based approaches; however, each falls short in representing the related nature of metabolic perturbations. Herein, we describe a complementary method for the analysis of large metabolite inventories using a data-driven approach based upon a self-organizing map algorithm.

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Dec
1969

The blood-brain barrier (BBB) dynamically controls exchange between the brain and the body, but this interaction cannot be studied directly in the intact human brain or sufficiently represented by animal models. Most existing in vitro BBB models do not include neurons and glia with other BBB elements and do not adequately predict drug efficacy and toxicity. Under the National Institutes of Health Microtissue Initiative, we are developing a three-dimensional, multicompartment, organotypic microphysiological system representative of a neurovascular unit of the brain.

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Feb
2014

A microcompressor is a precision mechanical device that flattens and immobilizes living cells and small organisms for optical microscopy, allowing enhanced visualization of sub-cellular structures and organelles. We have developed an easily fabricated device, which can be equipped with microfluidics, permitting the addition of media or chemicals during observation. This device can be used on both upright and inverted microscopes.

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Oct
2013

Recently, we described a method to quantify the time course of total transmembrane current (Im) and the relative role of its two components, a capacitive current (Ic) and a resistive current (Iion), corresponding to the cardiac action potential during stable propagation. That approach involved recording high-fidelity (200 kHz) transmembrane potential (Vm) signals with glass microelectrodes at one site using a spatiotemporal coordinate transformation via measured conduction velocity. Here we extend our method to compute these transmembrane currents during stable and unstable propagation from fluorescence signals of Vm at thousands of sites (3 kHz), thereby introducing transmembrane current imaging.

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Jul
2013

Detailed knowledge of tissue response to both systolic and diastolic shock is critical for understanding defibrillation. Diastolic field stimulation has been much less studied than systolic stimulation, particularly regarding transient virtual anodes. Here we investigated high-voltage-induced polarization and activation patterns in response to strong diastolic shocks of various durations and of both polarities, and tested the hypothesis that the activation versus shock duration curve contains a local minimum for moderate shock durations, and it grows for short and long durations.

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Sep
2013

Coupled systems of in vitro microfabricated organs-on-a-chip containing small populations of human cells are being developed to address the formidable pharmacological and physiological gaps between monolayer cell cultures, animal models, and humans that severely limit the speed and efficiency of drug development. These gaps present challenges not only in tissue and microfluidic engineering, but also in systems biology: how does one model, test, and learn about the communication and control of biological systems with individual organs-on-chips that are one-thousandth or one-millionth of the size of adult organs, or even smaller, i.e.

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Jun
2013

Bacterial biofilms are a metabolically heterogeneous community of bacteria distributed in an extracellular matrix comprised primarily of hydrated polysaccharides. Effective inhibitory concentrations measured under planktonic conditions are not applicable to biofilms, and inhibition concentrations measured for biofilms vary widely. Here, we introduce a novel microfluidic approach for screening respiration inhibition of bacteria in a biofilm array morphology.

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Apr
2013

Wound fluid is a complex biological sample containing byproducts associated with the wound repair process. Contemporary techniques, such as immunoblotting and enzyme immunoassays, require extensive sample manipulation and do not permit the simultaneous analysis of multiple classes of biomolecular species. Structural mass spectrometry, implemented as ion mobility-mass spectrometry (IM-MS), comprises two sequential, gas-phase dispersion techniques well suited for the study of complex biological samples because of its ability to separate and simultaneously analyze multiple classes of biomolecules.

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Mar
2013

The sophistication and success of recently reported microfabricated organs-on-chips and human organ constructs have made it possible to design scaled and interconnected organ systems that may significantly augment the current drug development pipeline and lead to advances in systems biology. Physiologically realistic live microHuman (μHu) and milliHuman (mHu) systems operating for weeks to months present exciting and important engineering challenges such as determining the appropriate size for each organ to ensure appropriate relative organ functional activity, achieving appropriate cell density, providing the requisite universal perfusion media, sensing the breadth of physiological responses, and maintaining stable control of the entire system, while maintaining fluid scaling that consists of ~5 mL for the mHu and ~5 μL for the μHu. We believe that successful mHu and μHu systems for drug development and systems biology will require low-volume microdevices that support chemical signaling, microfabricated pumps, valves and microformulators, automated optical microscopy, electrochemical sensors for rapid metabolic assessment, ion mobility-mass spectrometry for real-time molecular analysis, advanced bioinformatics, and machine learning algorithms for automated model inference and integrated electronic control.

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Dec
2012

The heart is well known as a metabolic omnivore in that it is capable of consuming fatty acids, glucose, ketone bodies, pyruvate, lactate, amino acids and even its own constituent proteins, in order of decreasing preference. The energy from these substrates supports not only mechanical contraction, but also the various transmembrane pumps and transporters required for ionic homeostasis, electrical activity, metabolism and catabolism. Cardiac ischemia - for example, due to compromise of the coronary vasculature or end-stage heart failure - will alter both electrical and metabolic activity.

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Jan
2013

The measurement, quantitative analysis, theory, and mathematical modeling of transmembrane potential and currents have been an integral part of the field of electrophysiology since its inception. Biophysical modeling of action potential propagation begins with detailed ionic current models for a patch of membrane within a distributed cable model. Voltage-clamp techniques have revolutionized clinical electrophysiology via the characterization of the transmembrane current gating variables; however, this kinetic information alone is insufficient to accurately represent propagation.

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Oct
2012

Current desalination techniques for mass spectrometry-based protocols are problematic for performing temporal response studies where increased temporal resolution requires small samples and faster sampling frequencies, which greatly increases the number of samples and sample preparation time. These challenges are pertinent to cellular dynamics experiments, where it is important to sample the biological system frequently and with as little sample waste as possible. To address these needs, we present a dual-column online solid phase extraction (SPE) approach capable of preconcentrating and preparing a constantly perfusing sample stream, with minimal to no sample loss.

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Nov
2012

We have developed a novel, portable, gravity-fed, microfluidics-based platform suitable for optical interrogation of long-term organotypic cell culture. This system is designed to provide convenient control of cell maintenance, nutrients, and experimental reagent delivery to tissue-like cell densities housed in a transparent, low-volume microenvironment. To demonstrate the ability of our Thick-Tissue Bioreactor (TTB) to provide stable, long-term maintenance of high-density cellular arrays, we observed the morphogenic growth of human mammary epithelial cell lines, MCF-10A and their invasive variants, cultured under three-dimensional (3D) conditions inside our system.

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Nov
2012

Cell migration is controlled by the integration of numerous distinct components. Consequently, the analysis of cell migration is advancing towards comprehensive, multifaceted in vitro models. To accurately evaluate the contribution of an underlying substrate to cell motility in complex cellular environments we developed a migration assay using magnetically attachable stencils (MAts).

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Jan
2012

Advances in microscopy technology have led to the creation of high-throughput microscopes that are capable of generating several hundred gigabytes of images in a few days. Analyzing such wealth of data manually is nearly impossible and requires an automated approach. There are at present a number of open-source and commercial software packages that allow the user to apply algorithms of different degrees of sophistication to the images and extract desired metrics.

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Oct
2011

The reverse engineering of metabolic networks from experimental data is traditionally a labor-intensive task requiring a priori systems knowledge. Using a proven model as a test system, we demonstrate an automated method to simplify this process by modifying an existing or related model--suggesting nonlinear terms and structural modifications--or even constructing a new model that agrees with the system's time series observations. In certain cases, this method can identify the full dynamical model from scratch without prior knowledge or structural assumptions.

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Jul
2011


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Oct
2011

Morphogenesis is a fundamental process by which new blood vessels are formed during angiogenesis. The ability to control angiogenesis would lead to improvements in tissue engineering constructions; indeed, the study of angiogenesis has numerous clinical applications, for example, in the investigation of metastatic cancer, peripheral and coronary vascular disease, and wound healing. Conventional in vitro organotypic cell culture approaches to these studies are limited primarily by their reliance on microvascular vessel formation through a random process of morphogenesis that lacks the spatial reproducibility and orientation needed for high-throughput drug testing.

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Aug
2011

Control is intrinsic to biological organisms, whose cells are in a constant state of sensing and response to numerous external and self-generated stimuli. Diverse means are used to study the complexity through control-based approaches in these cellular systems, including through chemical and genetic manipulations, input-output methodologies, feedback approaches, and feed-forward approaches. We first discuss what happens in control-based approaches when we are not actively examining or manipulating cells.

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Apr
2011

While there is a vast literature on the control systems that cells utilize to regulate their own state, there is little published work on the formal application of control theory to the external regulation of cellular functions. This paper chooses the GAL network in S. cerevisiae as a well understood benchmark example to demonstrate how control theory can be employed to regulate intracellular mRNA levels via extracellular galactose.

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Jul
2011

The heterogeneities of electrophysiological properties of cardiac tissue are the main factors that control both arrhythmia induction and maintenance. Although the local increase of extracellular potassium ([K(+)](o)) due to coronary occlusion is a well-established metabolic response to acute ischemia, the role of local [K(+)](o) heterogeneity in phase 1a arrhythmias has yet to be determined. In this work, we created local [K(+)](o) heterogeneity and investigated its role in fast pacing response and arrhythmia induction.

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Apr
2011

We report the observation of broad-spectrum fluorescence from single CdSe nanocrystals. Individual semiconductor nanocrystals typically have a narrower emission spectrum than that of an ensemble. However, our experiments show that the ensemble white-light emission observed in ultrasmall CdSe nanocrystals is the result of many single CdSe nanocrystals, each emitting over the entire visible spectrum.

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Jan
2011

An analytic approach to the modeling of stop-flow amperometric measurements of cellular metabolism with thin glucose oxidase and lactate oxidase electrodes would provide a mechanistic understanding of the various factors that affect the measured signals. We divide the problem into two parts: (1) analytic formulas that provide the boundary conditions for the substrate and the hydrogen peroxide at the outer surface of the enzyme electrode layers and the electrode current expressed through these boundary conditions, and (2) a simple diffusion problem in the liquid compartment with the provided boundary conditions, which can be solved analytically or numerically, depending on the geometry of the compartment. The current in an amperometric stop-flow measurement of cellular glucose or lactate consumption/excretion is obtained analytically for two geometries, corresponding to devices developed at the Vanderbilt Institute for Integrative Biosystems Research and Education: a multianalyte nanophysiometer with effective one-dimensional diffusion and a multianalyte microphysiometer, for which plentiful data for metabolic changes in cells are available.

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Nov
2010

We studied the transmembrane potential and magnetic fields from electrical activity at the apex of the isolated rabbit heart experimentally using optical mapping and superconducting quantum interference device microscopy, and theoretically using monodomain and bidomain models. The cardiac apex has a complex spiral fiber architecture that plays an important role in the development and propagation of action currents during stimulation at the apex. This spiral fiber orientation contains both radial electric currents that contribute to the electrocardiogram and electrically silent circular currents that cannot be detected by the electrocardiogram but are detectable by their magnetic field, B(z).

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Dec
2010

We describe the design, fabrication, and testing of a microfabricated metering rotary nanopump for the purpose of driving fluid flow in microfluidic devices. The miniature peristaltic pump is composed of a set of microfluidic channels wrapped in a helix around a central camshaft in which a non-cylindrical cam rotates. The cam compresses the helical channels to induce peristaltic flow as it is rotated.

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Nov
2010

Cells sense and interpret chemical gradients, and respond by localized responses that lead to directed migration. An open microfluidic device (OMD) was developed to provide quantitative information on both the gradient and morphological changes that occurred as cells crawled through various microfabricated channels. This device overcame problems that many current devices have been plagued with, such as complicated cell loading, media evaporation and channel blockage by air bubbles.

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