Passive Microinjection

Passive microinjection within high-throughput microfluidics for controlled actuation of droplets and cells

Microinjection is an effective actuation technique used for precise delivery of molecules and cells into droplets or controlled delivery of genes, molecules, proteins, and viruses into single cells. Several microinjection techniques have been developed for actuating droplets and cells. However, they are still time-consuming, have shown limited success, and are not compatible with the needs of high-throughput (HT) serial microinjection. We present a new passive microinjection technique relying on pressure-driven fluid flow and pulsative flow patterns within an HT droplet microfluidic system to produce serial droplets and manage rapid and highly controlled microinjection into droplets. A microneedle is secured within the injection station to confine droplets during the microinjection. The confinement of droplets on the injection station prevents their movement or deformation during the injection process. Three-dimensional (3D) computational analysis is developed and validated to model the dynamics of multiphase flows during the emulsion generation. We investigate the influence of pulsative flows, microneedle parameters and synchronization on the efficacy of microinjection. Finally, the feasibility of implementing our microinjection model is examined experimentally. This technique can be used for tissue engineering, cells actuation and drug discovery as well as developing new strategies for drug delivery. [https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-019-43056-2]