Characterizing cells as fully as doable is essential within the improvement of a biopharmaceutical. On the KTH Royal Institute of Expertise in Stockholm, Sweden, Håkan Jönsson, PhD, affiliate professor on the division of nanobiotechnology, captures cells with droplet microfluidics. Then, the cells and the merchandise that they make will be analyzed.
“We make pico- to nanoliter droplets of water in fluorinated oil,” Jönsson says. “The fluorinated oils are mainly liquid Teflon—making the droplets the next-generation take a look at tubes.” With this expertise, Jönsson can kind hundreds to tens of hundreds of droplets per second, management the precise dimension, and seize a single cell in a droplet. “Then we management not solely the only cell but additionally its vitamins and no matter it produces and secretes,” Jönsson says.
The droplets will also be manipulated. “We will cut up the droplets in two or we will merge them collectively,” Jönsson says. “We will add reagents into the droplets.” On this means, a pharmaceutical firm may mechanically take a look at a drug library in opposition to well-characterized cells. The droplets are additionally stabile sufficient for transport, however turning this expertise right into a industrial product requires some modifications.
“We’re attempting to simplify the method,” Jönsson says. His staff hopes to enhance the interface between droplet microfluidics and customary codecs, equivalent to a microwell plate, and robotics, equivalent to a pipetting robotic. “This interfacing query is vital as a result of in any other case we’ve stuff in labs which are held along with scotch tape and rubber bands,” Jönsson says. The interfacing problem, nevertheless, can by no means be fully solved. “To some extent, it’s by no means ending as a result of individuals consider new codecs,” Jönsson says. “Then you’ve gotten to have the ability to interface with these new codecs.”
Bridging the hole between teachers and business challenges all researchers. “There’s form of a disconnect between industrial purposes and educational analysis,” Jönsson explains. “To a big extent, we attempt to push the engineering facets, however a number of that turns into too superior, too technically difficult, for industrial use.” So, Jönsson will hold in search of methods to simplify his expertise to create a system that’s straightforward sufficient for industrial use and matches current workflows.