Intense acoustically driven microcentrifugation flows are employed to enhance the assembly of cellular spheroids in the microwell of a tissue culture well plate. This ability to interface microfluidics with commonly used tissue culture plasticware is a significant advantage as it can potentially be parallelized for high throughput operation and allows existing analytical equipment designed to fit current laboratory formats to be retained. The microcentrifugation flow, induced in the microwell coated with a low adhesive hydrogel, is shown to rapidly enhance the concentration of cells into tight aggregates within a minute - considerably faster than the conventional hanging drop and liquid overlay methods, which typically require days - while maintaining their viability. The proposed method also affords better control of the compaction force and hence the spheroid dimension simply by tuning the input power, which is a significant improvement over other microfluidic methods that require the fabrication of different geometries and microstructures to generate spheroids of different sizes. The spheroids produced are observed to exhibit the concentric heterogeneous cell populations and tight cell-cell interfaces typical of in vivo tumors, and are potentially useful in a broad spectrum of cancer biology and drug screening studies.
- surface acoustic wave