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Title page for ETD etd-03202015-124745

Type of Document Dissertation
Author Brewer, Bryson McKinley
Author's Email Address bryson.brewer@vanderbilt.edu
URN etd-03202015-124745
Title Development of Microfluidic Cell Culture Platforms for Investigating Cellular Phenomena
Degree PhD
Department Mechanical Engineering
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Deyu Li, Ph.D. Committee Chair
Donna J. Webb, Ph.D. Committee Member
Leon M. Bellan, Ph.D. Committee Member
Rebecca M. Sappington Committee Member
Robert W. Pitz, Ph.D. Committee Member
  • PDMS
  • scanning photocurrent
  • synapse
  • graphene
  • extracellular signaling
  • cancer cell migration
  • neuroscience
Date of Defense 2015-03-18
Availability unrestricted
Microfluidic systems provide numerous features and advantages that make them well-suited for investigations of interesting phenomena in cell biology. Several microfluidic cell culture platforms were developed to probe cell interactions and behaviors. First, an oil barrier and a membrane valve device were designed to investigate direct contact cell-cell interactions in two- and three-dimensional environments. Next, extracellular signaling between cell populations was examined using a novel microfluidic ligand trap system with the capability of targeting specific signaling pathways. In another project, a microfluidic stretcher platform was used to explore the role of mechanical stress on healthy cells in the developing tumor microenvironment. Finally, a microfluidic system incorporating graphene components was used to study the electrical properties of synaptic interactions between neurons through scanning photocurrent microscopy. The successful implementation of these microfluidic cell culture systems demonstrates the potential of this type of technology for cell biology research and provides a foundation on which to continue the advancement of our understanding of complex biological systems.
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