Patent of the Week: A Universal Microfluidic Culture System

Patent of the Week

Microfluidic chips are useful in several applications, such as drug discovery, because of their ability to automatically replicate various cellular environments.

As opposed to traditional dish-and-pipette techniques – which can be limiting – microfluidic cell culture and analysis technologies, like organ-on-a-chips, are less time consuming and labor-intensive. However, a common challenge is the number of unique devices needed to meet the specific needs of a research application.

To combat this issue, researchers, including UChicago professor of molecular engineering, Savas Tay, have developed a novel microfluidic technology. According to the inventors, the automated microfluidic culture system (the hardware) and associated integrated experimental platform (the software), together, pose several benefits.

Per the patent documents, the invention enables “multi-mode cell culture and stimulation, rapid on-chip mixing for the generation of diverse dynamic chemical inputs, as well as containing, in certain embodiments, 1,500 individually-addressable culturing units for high-throughput biomedical studies.”

The microfluidic chip can be used for fundamental and translational biomedical studies on cell signaling, drug screening, and personalized medicine.

As the patent explains: “This system constitutes a universal culture platform overcoming limitations of microfluidic cell culture and greatly enhancing its capabilities, allowing the study of previously unattainable aspects of cellular dynamics and enabling accelerated biological discovery.”

Savas Tay also is a co-founder of BiomeSense, which participated in the Polsky Center I-Corps program and in 2018 received $250,000 from the George Shultz Innovation Fund. The company went on to raise $2 million in seed round funding the following year.

BiomeSense is developing a fully automated biosensor for low-cost, scalable microbiome testing. According to the company, the device will solve the cost and patient adherence problems with current testing methods, making longitudinal sampling routine.

// Read more:

// Patent of the Week is a weekly column highlighting research and inventions from University of Chicago faculty.


This site uses cookies and other tracking technologies to assist with navigation and your ability to provide feedback, analyze your use of products and services, assist with our promotional and marketing efforts.