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Thumb-size microsystem enables cell culture and incubation
Date:10/2/2007

different microscopes, imaging devices or other experimental tools without jeopardizing the health of the cell culture. Its size and relatively low cost should allow biologists to run numerous experiments simultaneously in a small space. Because it can be powered by batteries, the micro-incubator could be used outside a traditional lab for field tests. Also, said Blain Christen, because its so small, we can change the temperature of the cell culture environment very quickly. We can go from room temperature to 98.6 degrees in less than a 10th of a second.

The device was designed not only to provide these capabilities but to do so in an eco-friendly manner. This was achieved by minimizing the size of components whose fabrication affects the environment in an adverse way. These components were also designed so that they can easily be re-used in other devices. Blain Christen and Andreou said environmental impacts should be an important consideration in all types of research. In our own field, among researchers who are working at the interface between electronics and biology, we believe our approach making ecological considerations integral to our design is rather uncommon, said Blain Christen. But we also believe this approach is one that all engineers should be adopting.

Blain Christen and Andreou are continuing to refine and enhance the micro-incubator. They say they hope to enable it to image the cells and tissue using optical light guides, and that they wish to give it the ability to stimulate and gather information about the electrical activity of cells.


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Contact: Phil Sneiderman
prs@jhu.edu
443-287-9960
Johns Hopkins University
Source:Eurekalert

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