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Microfluidic water-in-oil emulsion devices

Research Achievements

Microfluidic water-in-oil emulsion devices

Faculty participant Dave Weitz and students have developed techniques to grow and study single cells using microfluidic water-in-oil emulsion devices. Each cell is encapsulated into its own water droplet, which is kept separate from other droplets by a surfactant at the water/oil interface. The droplet functions as a reaction chamber for studying the cell, and by encapsulating the cell with assay components, cellular processes can be studied at the single cell level. The output from the assay can also be used to sort the droplets, which, when combined with new tools to physically manipulate individual droplets, allows them to isolate favorable cells for further study. For example, trainee Don Aubrecht is using a fluorescence-based assay to detect and quantify monoclonal antibodies being secreted from hybridoma cells.