Microfluidic Platforms for Chemical and Electrical Signaling in Whole Retina Tissue
Dodson, Kirsten Heikkinen
Microfluidic platforms are extremely promising for cell and tissue culture by greatly reducing costs while opening doors of opportunity for biological assays that were not feasible previously. The capability of precise spatiotemporal control of microenvironments enables new assays to probe the physiological and pathological behaviors of cells and tissues. Integration of advanced sensing technologies with microfluidics allows for probing phenomena within cells and tissue. This dissertation presents microfluidic platforms for localized probing of whole retina tissue, which has the advantages of easy accessibility, highly organized structure, and unique light sensitivity. These platforms allow for spatially isolated chemical and electrical stimulation and detection of cell signaling events in whole retina tissue. The Retina-on-a-Chip platform has achieved localized point application of reagents to the surface of the retina while maintaining tissue health over a long-term culture. When integrated with graphene transistors, this platform provides the opportunity to also probe electrical signaling events. As a key component in the Retina-on-a-Chip platform, the thin-film PDMS layer was found challenging to fabricate, thus current fabrication techniques were analyzed and new approaches were examined.