Standard tissue culture of adherent cells is known to poorly replicate physiology and often entails suspending cells in solution for analysis and sorting, which modulates protein expression and eliminates intercellular connections. To allow adherent culture and processing in flow, we present 3D-shaped hydrogel cell microcarriers, which are designed with a recessed nook in a first dimension to provide a tunable shear-stress shelter for cell growth, and a dumbbell shape in an orthogonal direction to allow for self-alignment in a confined flow, important for processing in flow and imaging flow cytometry. We designed a method to rapidly design, using the genetic algorithm, and manufacture the microcarriers at scale using a transient liquid molding optofluidic approach. The ability to precisely engineer the microcarriers solves fundamental challenges with shear-stress-induced cell damage during liquid-handling, and is poised to enable adherent cell culture, in-flow analysis, and sorting in a single format.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/baskar-ganapathysubramanian/64/