Professor T. Matsue -- Development of a microchip which allows for the comprehensive monitoring of cell activity --


The research group led by Tohoku University Professor Tomokazu Matsue of the Advanced Institute for Materials Research and Assistant Professor Kosuke Ino of the Graduate School of Environmental Studies has successfully developed a miniature chip that allows for the simultaneous monitoring of multiple activations of cells. This allows for the efficient monitoring of the differentiation process of embryonic stem cells (ES cells), and could be applied in biochemical and medical fields.

To separate useful cells for medical and experimental purposes out of a large number of cultivated cells, such as when cultivating ES cells or when expressing proteins from colon bacillus, is a major issue. As one of the methods for separating useful cells, an electrochemical measurement has been used. This method measures the concentration chemical substances that originate from the cell and judges the condition of the cell. However, in order to use the electrochemical measurement method to simultaneously measure large amount of cells, there needed to be an equal amount of sensors and electrodes to the number of cells, enlarging the size of the chip device and posing a major obstacle to its application.

This research group put the electrodes in a lattice configuration and locally included an electrochemical method called the redox cycle which greatly reduced the size of the chip. Also this chip device showed that the continuous monitoring of the differentiation process of embryoid bodies fabricated from mouse embryonic stem cells. The electrochemical measurement method, compared to optical methods used to similarly separate useful cells, can measure with higher sensitivity thus allowing a more detailed monitoring of the differentiation process along with possible other practical applications.

The results of this research have been published in the electronic version of the German chemistry journal Angewandte Chemie International Edition on May 25, 2012. The paper's title is "Local redox cycling-based electrochemical chip device with deep microwells for evaluation of embryoid bodies."

More information (Japanese)


(About the research)

Professor Tomokazu Matsue
WPI Advanced Institute for Materials Research, Tohoku University
Tel: +81-22-795-7209

Assistant Professor Kosuke Ino
Graduate School of Environmental Studies, Tohoku University
Tel: +81-22-795-7281

(Media Relations)

Outreach Office
WPI Advanced Institute for Materials Research, Tohoku University
Tel: +81-22-217-6146