SMART - Singapore MIT Alliance for Research and Technology

Singapore-MIT Alliance for Research & Technology

Biosystems and Micromechanics

BioSystems and Micromechanics (BioSyM) Inter-Disciplinary Research Group

Cell Cycle Synchronization of Stem Cells Using Inertial

Cell cycle synchronization is of paramount importance for studying cellular properties and biological processes involved in various stages of the cell cycle. BioSyM researchers have developed a microfluidics based approach to synchronize the cell cycle of a primary –cells, human bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells (hMSCs), using inertial forces in spiral microchannels. The device operating principle exploits the relationship between the volume (and thus diameter) of a cell and its phase in the cell cycle, in order to fractionate hMSCs populations into synchronized sub-populations enriched in cell cycle fractions of G0/G1, S and G2/M phases

Schematic illustration of the spiral microfluidic design developed for cell cycle synchronization. Under the influence of inertial lift forces and Dean drag force, the
hMSCs are size fractionated to obtain relatively pure populations of cells in the G0/G1, S and G2/M phase. The cells in the G2/M phase, due to the large size, equilibrate closest to the microchannel inner wall followed by cells in the S and G0/G1 phase.

A. Photograph of the spiral microchannel with one inlet and eight outlets fabricated in PDMS. B. Optical micrographs
of the size sorted cells collected from outlets 2, 3 and 4. bar = 50μm. C. Viability of sorted hMSCs verified using trypan
blue exclusion assay. Results indicate that the shear experienced at very high flow rates (2 mL/min), do not compromise
the cells achieving >90% cell recovery.


For details, see CELL CYCLE SYNCHRONIZATION OF STEM CELLS USING INERTIAL MICROFLUIDICS, Wong Cheng Lee, Ali Asgar. S. Bhagat, Sha Huang, Krystyn J. Van Vliet, Jongyoon Han, Chwee Teck Lim, in Proceedings of MicroTAS-2010, pp. 208-210