The Microfluidics Laboratory Shared Core Facility is located in Princeton University’s Jadwin Hall.
A major goal of the laboratory is to transfer the capabilities and knowledge from the physical sciences to biologists and medical researchers in their efforts to learn more about cancer. The facility will allow biological researchers to run experiments using microfluidics tools and techniques.
Microfluidic technology involves the miniaturization of systems handling minute amounts of liquid to serve as a laboratory for biological experiments. The microhabitat patches (MHPs), developed at Princeton, are designed and fabricated to include small interconnected channels for fluid flow and input/output reservoirs. The channels connect individual wells, which are etched into the surface of the chip. Cells are able to migrate back and forth between wells. The microhabitat patches also feature miniaturized mechanical flow control devices, like pumps and valves, which can be used to deliver precisely controlled amounts of nutrient and/or environmental stressors, including drugs. Using microfluidic platforms to study biological tissues or individual cells allows for precise control of the cell’s microenvironment to emulate in vivo conditions. It also allows researchers to monitor single cells over time while external stressors are applied. And it allows for culturing meta-populations of cells in order to study local variations in cell phenotype and genotype.
The Microfluidics Laboratory includes two function pieces – one for making the microfluidics chips, and another for using the chips to perform experiments. The facility will be used to conduct trainings and workshops to orient new users to this powerful technology.