Development of Microfluidic ‘lab-on-a-chip’ Devices for Cell Mechanotransduction Studies

Supervisor: Dr. Tamie Poepping

Project Description (Abstract):

Microfluidic ‘lab-on-a-chip’ devices can be used to generate flow micro-environments such as can be applied to cell cultures.

Devices will be designed, fabricated in the nanofab facility, and characterized using micro-particle image velocimetry (micro-PIV). PIV is a method for mapping flow fields using consecutive images of particles to track the motion. Careful measurement and mapping of the flow field is important for establishing the physical forces and chemical exposures experienced by the cells.

Here a micro-PIV system using a microscope will be used to visualize micron-sized particles with sufficient temporal and spatial resolution to characterize a spectrum of targeted flow stimuli in our microfluidic chambers, including high-frequency oscillations and turbulent flow. One project will involve the implementation of microfluidic actuators for generating different flow to impose various shear stress conditions in custom microfluidic devices and measuring the flow fields using micro-PIV. Individual projects can be tailored to involve elements of numerical modelling, design and fabrication, and flow characterization using micro-PIV, as well as cell studies.