SUBJECT: M.S. Thesis Presentation
BY: Hanna Ching
TIME: Tuesday, April 20, 2021, 10:00 a.m.
TITLE: Fluidic System for a Homogeneous On-Chip Environment to Support Long-Term 3D Culturing
COMMITTEE: Dr. YongTae Kim, Chair (ME)
Dr. Steven Sloan (SOM)
Dr. Katherine Fu (ME)


Microfluidics is a popular technique for various cell culturing applications because it presents many benefits over traditional methods, such as the ability to precisely control culturing parameters and to support culturing to therapeutics testing on a single chip. However, microfluidic-based culturing systems remain to be advanced to support long-term culture, do not enable easy access to the cultures, and are not simple or easy-to-use. To address these limitations, this thesis presents a fluidic system composed of a culturing device and media delivery system designed to support long-term three-dimensional (3D) tissue culturing with an easy-to-use system while still preserving the benefits associated with microfluidics. The device controls the spatial arrangement to maintain independent culture space with no culture-culture interaction and is designed with unique features called flow directors and swirl chambers to ensure uniform flow and reduce the possibility of cultures adhering to the chamber walls, respectively. Computational fluid dynamics simulations were applied to fine-tune flow patterns in the device, which determined a chamber overlap angle of 50 deg and guaranteed uniform flow within 0.18%. A prototype of the device was manufactured using stereolithography 3D printing techniques. Multiple proof-of-concept testing experiments were conducted and found to be successful for smaller (~ 1 mm) 3D cultures. A generalized mathematical model of the gravity-driven reservoir system was developed and a high-level overview of the media delivery feedback control system is presented. This device will have an impact on the fields of microfluidic-based tissue culturing, drug and therapeutics testing, and long-term tissue development research.