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2014 MRS Fall Meeting


H5.02 - Applications for Micro- and Nanomanipulators in Biomedical Research


Dec 2, 2014 8:30am ‐ Dec 2, 2014 8:45am

Description

The default application for micromanipulators in biomedical and life science research is patch clamping, where an electrolyte-filled glass pipette fitted with a electrochemically sensitized metal wire is used to measure potentials across cell membranes. This technique benefits from stable micromanipulators that do not drift. At the same time, ease of use as well as accessibility and portability are important features in day to day lab work.

Going beyond patch clamping there is a wide array of applications and research goals that rely on highly precise and easy to operate micromanipulators. A few examples are briefly discussed in this work.
Investigations on small vesicles can be aided by injecting a fluorescent die into the sample. Using pipettes similar to the ones described above, this injection process an easily be achieved.

Another application for micromanipulators is the dissection of chromosomes. Using a sharp needle in combination with a micro blade, sections of a single chromosome can be extracted for further analysis.

Micromanipulators can also be used to stimulate cells. Work performed at the University Ulm involved stretching and compressing in order activate specific strain-induced biochemical responses. Some of the tests were performed using a micro-spatula to put strain on the sample, other experiments relied on a micro gripper to gently squeeze a cell culture in cyclic manner.

Finally, a method for measuring adhesion forces between cells and their substrates using a image recognition-based approach is discussed. This approach utilizes the microscope's magnifying power to produce both deflection and force data by employing a cantilevered sample mount with a well-defined spring constant. This approach eliminates the need for expensive and overly sensitive measurement electronics in favour of a robust measurement platform combined with intelligent software analysis.

Speaker(s):

  • Andrew Smith, Senior Director, Research, The American Gaming Association

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