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Microfluidic device rapidly orients hundreds of embryos for high-throughput experiments
Date:12/26/2010

Researchers have developed a microfluidic device that automatically orients hundreds of fruit fly and other embryos to prepare them for research. The device could facilitate the study of such issues as how organisms develop their complex structures from single cells -- one of the most fascinating aspects of biology.

Scientists know that among an embryo's first major developments is the establishment of its dorsoventral axis, which runs from its back to its belly. Determining how this axis development unfolds -- specifically the presence and location of proteins during the process -- requires the ability to simultaneously monitor large numbers of embryos with different genetic backgrounds at several time points.

"Collecting and analyzing the signaling and transcriptional patterns of the dorsoventral axis typically requires manual manipulation of individual embryos to stand them on their ends, making it difficult to conduct high-throughput experiments that can achieve statistically significant results," said Hang Lu, an associate professor in the Georgia Tech School of Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering.

To enable large-scale quantitative analyses of protein positional information along the dorsoventral axis, Lu designed a microfluidic device that reliably and robustly orients several hundred embryos in just a few minutes.

Details of the device design and results from proof-of-concept experiments with fruit fly embryos were published in the Dec. 26 advance online edition of the journal Nature Methods. This project was supported by the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation and the DuPont Young Professor program.

Lu designed and fabricated the device with the help of Kwanghun Chung and Emily Gong, who worked on the project as Georgia Tech graduate and undergraduate students, respectively. Fabricated from polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS), the compact device is t
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Contact: Abby Vogel Robinson
abby@innovate.gatech.edu
404-385-3364
Georgia Institute of Technology Research News
Source:Eurekalert  

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