A modular versatile chip carrier for high-throughput screening of cell–biomaterial interactions

H.V. Unadkat, R.R. Rewagad, M. Hulsman, G.F.B. Hulshof, R.K. Truckenmüller, Dimitrios Stamatialis, M.J.T. Reinders, Jan C.T. Eijkel, Albert van den Berg, Clemens van Blitterswijk, Jan de Boer

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The field of biomaterials research is witnessing a steady rise in high-throughput screening approaches, comprising arrays of materials of different physico-chemical composition in a chip format. Even though the cell arrays provide many benefits in terms of throughput, they also bring new challenges. One of them is the establishment of robust homogeneous cell seeding techniques and strong control over cell culture, especially for long time periods. To meet these demands, seeding cells with low variation per tester area is required, in addition to robust cell culture parameters. In this study, we describe the development of a modular chip carrier which represents an important step in standardizing cell seeding and cell culture conditions in array formats. Our carrier allows flexible and controlled cell seeding and subsequent cell culture using dynamic perfusion. To demonstrate the application of our device, we successfully cultured and evaluated C2C12 premyoblast cell viability under dynamic conditions for a period of 5 days using an automated pipeline for image acquisition and analysis. In addition, using computational fluid dynamics, lactate and BMP-2 as model molecules, we estimated that there is good exchange of nutrients and metabolites with the flowing medium, whereas no cross-talk between adjacent TestUnits should be expected. Moreover, the shear stresses to the cells can be tailored uniformly over the entire chip area. Based on these findings, we believe our chip carrier may be a versatile tool for high-throughput cell experiments in biomaterials sciences.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)20120753-20120759
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of the Royal Society. Interface
Issue number78
Publication statusPublished - 6 Jan 2013


  • High throughput
  • Computational fluid dynamics modelling
  • Cell–biomaterial interactions


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