Clinorotation time-lapse microscopy for live-cell assays in simulated microgravity
Yew, Alvin G.
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To address the health risks associated with long-term manned space exploration, we require an understanding of the cellular processes that drive physiological alterations. Since experiments in spaceflight are expensive, clinorotation is commonly used to simulate the effects of microgravity in ground experiments. However, conventional clinostats prohibit live-cell imaging needed to characterize the time-evolution of cell behavior and they also have limited control of chemical microenvironments in cell cultures. In this dissertation, I present my work in developing Clinorotation Time-lapse Microscopy (CTM), a microscope stage-amenable, lab-on-chip technique that can accommodate a wide range of simulated microgravity investigations. I demonstrate CTM with stem cells and show significant, time-dependent alterations to morphology. Additionally, I derive momentum and mass transport equations for microcavities that can be incorporated into various lab-on-chip designs. Altogether, this work represents a significant step forward in space biology research.