2009

Microwell Arrays for Studying Many Individual Cells

“Laboratory-on-a-chip” devices that enable the simultaneous culturing and interrogation of many individual living cells have been invented. Each such device includes a silicon nitride-coated silicon chip containing an array of micromachined wells sized so that each well can contain one cell in contact or proximity with a patch clamp or other suitable single-cell-interrogating device. At the bottom of each well is a hole, typically ≈ 0.5 μm wide, that connects the well with one of many channels in a microfluidic network formed in a layer of poly(dimethylsiloxane) on the underside of the chip. The microfluidic network makes it possible to address wells (and, thus, cells) individually to supply them with selected biochemicals. The microfluidic channels also provide electrical contact to the bottoms of the wells.

This work was done by Albert Folch and Turgut Fettah Kosar of the University of Washington for Johnson Space Center. For further information, contact the JSC Innovation Partnerships Office at (281) 483-3809.

In accordance with Public Law 96-517, the contractor has elected to retain title to this invention. Inquiries concerning rights for its commercial use should be addressed to:

ROI Coordinator
Office of Technology Licensing
University of Washington
1107 NE 45th Street, Suite 200
Seattle, WA 98105

Refer to MSC-24046-1, volume and number of this NASA Tech Briefs issue, and the page number.

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