This prototype of a microfluidic device has both curved and straight channels for transporting tissue biopsies. The silicon material is lightweight, flexible and transparent. (Credit: U of Washington)
The mold for making a microfluidic device. Teflon tubes are inserted into a petri dish, then silicon is poured in. After the material hardens, engineers remove the disposable container and are left with an intact device. (Credit: U of Washington)
Undergraduate mechanical engineering student Chris Burfeind holds the prototype in the UW mechanical engineering lab. Burfeind built this device using flexible Teflon tubes and a petri dish. (Credit: U of Washington)
In this video, tissue biopsies first are seen moving through the transparent channels of a microfluidic device. In the second cut, an optical clearing fluid illuminates the original channels. Moving whole tissue samples through such a device is unprecedented.
In this video, a piece of tissue first is deposited into the microfluidic device by a needle that is used clinically by pathologists to take biopsy samples from patients. The tissue then is propelled down a channel, where both a stain and a wash process the tissue, simulating steps in a pathology lab. Finally, the tissue is moved along the channel and out of the device.