See how Dr. Belleannée addressed contamination concerns in her laboratory
The BioFlux system is a game-changer in the world of experimental research. By employing a multiplexed array format, it revolutionizes the way flow cell experiments are conducted. Just picture this: a single 48-well plate has the potential to run an impressive 24 assays concurrently. And with the introduction of the Quattro add-on, a staggering 96 experiments can run in parallel. This substantial boost in data throughput means researchers can delve into more conditions, test hypotheses, and uncover drug pharmacology faster than ever before. But as we'll learn in this case study, the real-world benefits go far beyond multiplexing.
Increasing both data throughput and integrity
Dr. Clemence Belleannée and her team at the University of Laval take advantage of BioFlux system's contactless pumping to improve experimental throughput and data integrity
While the BioFlux system's capacity for multiplexing experiments is widely celebrated, there's an equally vital but less-discussed feature that significantly elevates both throughput and data integrity: "contactless" pumping. In this case study, we'll delve into the concept behind contactless pumping, its crucial features, and its transformative impact in the laboratory of Dr. Clemence Belleannée at the Universite Laval in Quebec City, Canada who has been using BioFlux since 2015.
The unique technology of the BioFlux system has left an indelible mark on Dr. Belleannée's research team at the University of Laval. Their work focuses on developing a reversible male contraceptive that preserves male fertility and additionally, explores novel therapeutic approaches to prostate cancer.
The team sought a system that could investigate the function and response of shear stress without requiring fluid exchange, to reduce the likelihood of contamination.
Fluxion's BioFlux system, with its gas-driven flow cell setup, met the team's needs without necessitating fluid exchange. This has empowered their research in numerous ways.
Key Benefits (according to Dr. Belleannée)
- Contamination Mitigation: The absence of liquid exchange in the system reduces the risk of contamination in samples and assays while maintaining a low-effort setup.
- Tailored for Specific Research: The BioFlux system aligns perfectly with the unique requirements of their specific research field, delivering controlled shear to meet their needs.
- Exceptional Customer Support: Investing in the BioFlux system came with outstanding vendor support, an invaluable asset to the team's work over the years.
Ditching the Drawbacks of Traditional Microfluidic Flow Cells
In traditional flow cell systems, even the microfluidic ones, fluid flow is typically managed by syringe pumps, peristaltic pumps, or similar direct-fluid-contact approaches. However, the BioFlux system takes things a step further with its pneumatic pressure-driven pumping mechanism.
The limitations of traditional liquid pumps in conjunction with microfluidic flow cells are glaring:
- To reduce the likelihood of contamination, the entire fluidic network necessitates thorough cleaning or replacement after every experiment, increasing both hands-on time and cost.
- Connections and tubing that link the pump to the flow cell, introduce dead volume throughout the system and increase the sample, media, and treatment requirements.
- Low flow rates essential for microfluidic flow cells lead to substantial flow rate variations, diminishing accuracy.
- The level of multiplexing achievable is capped due to the complex tubing manifolding, which introduces flow resistance discrepancies, further amplifying variability.
BioFlux Pneumatic Pumping: The Key to Precision, Multiplexing, and Speed
To address these issues, Fluxion introduced the innovative use of pneumatic pressure-driven flow within the BioFlux system. The system integrates an array of microfluidic flow cells into the base of a standard size plate, solving the "macro to micro interface" challenge inherent to many microfluidic devices. In its simplest form, a microfluidic flow cell comprises an inlet well and an outlet well connected by the microfluidic flow cell channel.
Pneumatic pumping-precision without liquid contact
Pneumatic tubing connects to the interface to deliver gas pressure to the microfluidic well plate. The controller delivers precise gas pressure based on the user-determined flow profile for the experiment.
Computational fluid dynamics is used to model flow in the microfluidic channels. The flow profiles are then validated experimentally. This image of the CFD-analyzed flow demonstrates the uniformity of the wall shear stress profile across the BioFlux 48-well low shear stress plate. The channel diameter is 350um- 5 human hairs.
The Unparalleled Benefits of BioFlux's Pneumatic Pressure-Driven Pumping
- Rapid Setup: Loading samples into the wells and attaching the interface is all that's needed. There are no pumps, tubing, or connectors in the flow path – pneumatic pressure-driven flow takes care of the rest.
- Clean & Fast Experiment Turnaround: There's no need for the time-consuming cleaning or replacement of syringes, tubing, or connections between experiments to prevent contamination.
- Flow Accuracy: Pneumatic pumping seamlessly scales to the extremely low flow rates necessary for microfluidic assays, ensuring precision.
- Throughput: Pressure-driven flow easily multiplexes, with BioFlux's ability to run up to 96 experiments simultaneously from a single controller.