Microfluidic tools for metabolomics
Author(s)Urbanski, John Paul
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Dept. of Mechanical Engineering.
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A primary challenge in embryology is to understand the factors that govern the development of preimplantation (PI) embryos and how these factors relate to embryo viability in the field of in vitro fertilization (IVF). This is particularly important as clinical policy moving towards single embryo transfer (SET) has gained awareness to manage unprecedented numbers of multiple births, such as twins and triplets, resulting from artificial reproductive techniques. Conditions that correlate with developmental potential of candidate embryos are disputed in the field, however, as the requisite data is difficult to obtain.The metabolic profiles of embryos during in vitro culture have been suggested as a key indicator of developmental potential, and approaches have been clinically implemented to select transfer candidates which make the most efficient use of nutrients. Existing microdroplet analysis techniques are accurate and suitable for non-invasive assessment of single embryos. Unfortunately, the process of determining metabolite levels in nanoliters of culture media through fluorometric assays is low-throughput and requires specialized expertise, hindering widespread clinical use of these methods. The goal of this thesis is to develop microfluidics-based approaches for improving metabolic analysis of PI embryos and mammalian cells. This challenge necessitates two competencies: methods for automating chemical assays and methods for supporting cell cultures, which can be integrated with analysis. Contributions include a standalone platform for determining the metabolite use of single embryos. Profiles may be acquired automatically, which reduces significant technician hours and improves repeatability. Techniques are developed for performing embryo culture in the smallest culture volumes to date in microfabricated environments. Microfluidic approaches have enabled culture that outperforms the current state of art approach based on cell count measurements.(cont.) An integrated system is introduced, merging analysis and culture competencies to perform metabolic profiling of separate cultures of mammalian cells in parallel. Finally, new paradigms in microfluidic design are presented based on the concept of vertically integrated architectures, suitable for overcoming density limitations of microfluidic assays. A scalable analysis platform for refining embryo selection has been long warranted and would enable pursuit of the difficult questions relating metabolism and embryo viability as the clinical movement towards SET continues.
Thesis (Ph. D.)--Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Dept. of Mechanical Engineering, 2008.Includes bibliographical references (p. 153-160).
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Dept. of Mechanical Engineering.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology