Utilizing microfluidics is a promising way for increasing the throughput and automation of cell biology research. We present a complete self-contained system for automated cell culture and experiments with real-time optical read-out. The system offers a high degree of user-friendliness, stability due to simple construction principles and compactness for integration with standard instruments. Furthermore, the self-contained system is highly portable enabling transfer between work stations such as laminar flow benches, incubators and microscopes. Accommodation of 24 individual inlet channels enables the system to perform parallel, programmable and multiconditional assays on a single chip. A modular approach provides system versatility and allows many different chips to be used dependent upon application. We validate the system's performance by demonstrating on-chip passive switching and mixing by peristaltically driven flows. Applicability for biological assays is demonstrated by on-chip cell culture including on-chip transfection and temporally programmable gene expression.
- Cell culture