Finite Element Modeling of the Stress Field in a Cell-Seeded Microchannel

G. Zhu, and Y. Li
Lawrence Technological University, Southfield, MI, USA

Fluids used in biomedical microelectromechanical systems (BioMEMS) devices often exhibit very different flow behavior from those in bulk solutions, which in turn affects the behavior of cells and biomolecules in the device.

In this work, we investigate an integrated microfluidic system for living cell culture and assay. The system can be used as a generic platform to study the behavior of various types of cells under microenvironment with improved efficiency. In our study of culturing cells in microchannels, we observed that cells near the entrance region had much lower viability compared to cells cultured in the middle of the channel. We hypothesized higher shear stress near the entrance region. We choose to use the fluid structure interaction model in the MEMS module of COMSOL to simulate our system because it seems to be an ideal tool to analyze and compare the flow behavior and stress distribution in different locations of the microchannel. Results can then be used to optimize the design of the microfluidic channel for improved cell viability.