Biochip technology

A lab-on-a-chip solution

Biochips for culturing cells, tissue or microorganisms are of interest to several (bio)medical and pharmaceutical applications such as tissue engineering, organ-on-a-chip and high-throughput drug screening. Leiden University wanted to develop such a biochip for a potential (high-throughput) pharmaceutical application based on a microfluidic flow-through system, in aid of their research on whole-animal models (e.g. zebrafish embryos). This is an area their Institute of Biology specialises in and through which they strive to replace rodents in some areas of research. Their request for this particular biochip formed an interesting challenge, because no animal embryo had ever been shown to undergo embryonic development in a microfluidic flow-through system.

Micronit’s lab-on-a-chip solution

Leiden University enlisted the help of local partners, including Micronit. Since we have experience in the development of biochips based on microfluidics, it was an easy match to make. Together with Leiden University we developed and prototyped a specialised lab-on-a-chip, containing 32 microwells, made from bonded layers of borosilicate glass. Thus, by using microtechnology it was possible for more than a 100 embryos to be cultured in an area, excluding infrastructure, smaller than a credit card.

If you would like to read more, please download the full paper on http://pubs.rsc.org/en/content/articlelanding/2011/lc/c0lc00443j#!divAbstract.

In this lab-on-a-chip paper we discuss how biochip technology, coupled with zebrafish embryos, could allow biological research to be conducted in massive, parallel experiments, at high speed and low cost.

Images

Image 1: Zoom in on a single microwell containing one zebrafish embryo
[Lab Chip, 2011, 11, 1815-1824] – Reproduced by permission of The Royal Society of Chemistry.

Image 2: An example of a 32-microwell biochip 
[Lab Chip, 2011, 11, 1815-1824] – Reproduced by permission of The Royal Society of Chemistry.

 

Zebrafish_close-up.jpg Biochip_2.jpg