Towards Passive Unlabeled Cell Sorting in a Microfluidic Flow Chamber Towards Passive Unlabeled Cell Sorting in a Microfluidic Flow Chamber

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Frohberg, Nicholas James
Qiu, Peng
Qiu, Peng
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Cell separation is utilized for a variety of purposes in biomedicine, including clinical diagnosis, or batch purification or rare cell isolation within a research laboratory setting. The currently used methods for cell separation are mostly limited to fluorescent or magnetic activated cell sorting, or density-gradient methods. These methods have clear weaknesses; the former two have high monetary cost, and the requirement for tags can delay project completion by months, while density-gradient methods have poor accuracy. This work discusses a label-free passive method for sorting cells, through mechanical forces created by flow in a microfluidic chamber. This project aims to mathematically model the ways that a particular set of modifiable flow chamber parameters will influence the trajectory of cells with differing physical parameters. Water velocity within the device was modeled through the use of the finite element method and computational fluid dynamics. An analysis is performed on what the flow field inside this device looks like and how this can be manipulated for cell sorting. Initial observation shows that large, stiff, and weakly viscous cells will move upwards. This research and model could make it possible to successfully use this microfluidic flow chamber design to sort cell groups which had not previously been researched in this device.
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Undergraduate Thesis
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