Issue 14, 2011

Inkjet-like printing of single-cells


Cell sorting and separation techniques are essential tools for cell biology research and for many diagnostic and therapeutic applications. For many of these applications, it is imperative that heterogeneous populations of cells are segregated according to their cell type and that individual cells can be isolated and analysed. We present a novel technique to isolate single cells encapsulated in a picolitre sized droplet that are then deposited by inkjet-like printing at defined locations for downstream genomic analysis. The single-cell-manipulator (SCM) developed for this purpose consists of a dispenser chip to print cells contained in a free flying droplet, a computer vision system to detect single-cells inside the dispenser chip prior to printing, and appropriate automation equipment to print single-cells onto defined locations on a substrate. This technique is spatially dynamic, enabling cell printing on a wide range of commonly used substrates such as microscope slides, membranes and microtiter plates. Demonstration experiments performed using the SCM resulted in a printing efficiency of 87% for polystyrene microbeads of 10 μm size. When the SCM was applied to a cervical cancer cell line (HeLa), a printing efficiency of 87% was observed and a post-SCM cell viability rate of 75% was achieved.

Graphical abstract: Inkjet-like printing of single-cells

Article information

Article type
01 Mar 2011
10 May 2011
First published
09 Jun 2011

Lab Chip, 2011,11, 2447-2454

Inkjet-like printing of single-cells

A. Yusof, H. Keegan, C. D. Spillane, O. M. Sheils, C. M. Martin, J. J. O'Leary, R. Zengerle and P. Koltay, Lab Chip, 2011, 11, 2447 DOI: 10.1039/C1LC20176J

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