HIGHLY LOCALIZED SUPERFUSION DEVICE FOR ADVANCED SINGLE-CELL EXPERIMENTS
The ability to study and interrogate one or a small number of cells requires precision control over the environment immediately surrounding a cell. The BioPen is a unique and powerful microfluidic system for maintaining localized superfusion in single-cell experiments, enabling control of the chemical environment around single intact cells in tissue or cell cultures.
The BioPen Microfluidic System is comprised of a high precision pressure controller, a disposable pipette tip inserted in a holder and, PC software. It integrates with common micromanipulators and microscopes.
The BioPen system contains:
1 – Disposable pipette tip:
The pipette tip is used to deliver up to 4 different solutions. Utilizing hydrodynamic confinement, the delivered solution can be localized and rapidly switched without contaminating the rest of the cells or the cell dish solution. The pipette tip is made from a flexible medical grade elastomer material so that unlike glass pipettes it won’t break upon contact with a hard surface. It includes 8 wells; 4 wells for containing solutions and 4 wells for collecting waste. Each well can contain up to 35 μl of solution.
2 – Pressure Controller:
Two levels of pneumatic pressure are supplied by the pressure controller and fast solution switching is achieved through the use of miniature solenoid valves.
3 – Pipette holder:
The pipette holder is a pressure manifold to assure a closed system and to connect each solution reservoir of the pipette tip individually with the precision pressure controller. It has been designed to be compatible with any standard type of micromanipulator such as, for example, the PatchStar from Scientifica.
4 – Software:
The software enables facile configuration and use of the BioPen system. The Windows-based BioPen software allows independent control of each pressure line and solution delivery. It also includes a macro scripting module for automation of common tasks and setup/shutdown. It can furthermore, be integrated into LabVIEW workflows.