A novel high aspect ratio microfluidic design to provide a stable and uniform microenvironment for cell growth in a high throughput mammalian cell culture array
We present a high aspect ratio microfluidic device for culturing cells inside an array of microchambers with continuous perfusion of medium. The device was designed to provide a potential tool for cost-effective and automated cell culture. The single unit of the array consists of a circular microfluidic chamber 40 µm in height surrounded by multiple narrow perfusion channels 2 µm in height. The high aspect ratio (∼20) between the microchamber and the perfusion channels offers advantages such as localization of the cells inside the microchamber as well as creating a uniform microenvironment for cell growth. Finite element methods were used to simulate flow profile and mass transfer of the device. Human carcinoma (HeLa) cells were cultured inside the device with continuous perfusion of medium at 37 °C and was grown to confluency. The microfluidic cell culture array could potentially offer an affordable platform for a wide range of applications in high throughput cell-based screening, bioinformatics, synthetic biology, quantitative cell biology, and systems biology.