Single cell analysis is the present and future of biological research. It’s becoming clear that sub-populations of cells within a larger group can often be the culprit for diseases or malfunctions. In this work we aim to provide a tool that allows biological researchers to better analyze single cells within cell populations by removing the barrier to observing analytes contained within the cell’s membrane. By providing physical access to the intracellular compounds in a single cell, we can analyze individual cells for levels of analytes that were previously only available through bulk measurements of a lysed cell population. The technique is similar to flow cytometry, but we will use droplets as a physical analog to cells in a flow cytometer-type configuration. This distinction allows for lysis of a single cell within a droplet and prevents diffusion of internal components outside of the droplet’s barrier. Analysis of analyte levels is accomplished with fluorescence labeling and laser based querying of the fluorescence concentration. This work is accomplished through use of a plastic microfluidic network.
December 31, 2012
Brackbill, T. (2012). Polymer Microfluidic Device for High-throughput Single-cell Encapsulation, Lysis, and Biological Assay. United States: University of California, Berkeley.