Microfluidic Acoustic System to Generate Aged Yeast for Cell Aging Studies
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The mechanisms and causes of aging, the greatest risk factor of disease, are poorly understood. This lack of knowledge—specifically in relation to the aging of single biological cells—results from limitations in the methods traditionally used in cell aging studies, including inefficiencies of manually culturing cells and constraints in analyzing cells with sufficient spatial and temporal resolution. Microfluidic technologies solve these deficiencies that have prevented researchers from fully understanding cell aging; therefore, to improve aging studies utilizing yeast as a model organism, a high-throughput microfluidic system has been developed to generate aged yeast for subsequent biochemical analyses. The microfluidic system starts with a mixed-size yeast population and leverages size-based differences of acoustic forces to remove smaller, younger daughter yeast and isolate a substantial quantity of larger, aged mothers. Repeated separation of yeast by size during system operation increases the yield of the aged mother population, and microfluidic agitation to break up cell clumps improves size-based separation efficiency. With this aged yeast generator, researchers can potentially produce a large population of aged cells without the need for time-consuming, error-prone purification steps or genetic modification. Experiments employing such a system may reveal new insights into aging at the cellular and molecular levels. This improved understanding of aging can be applied when treating age-related diseases, including sarcopenia, osteoporosis, macular degeneration, neurodegeneration, and cancer.
Krenek, Keith (2015). Microfluidic Acoustic System to Generate Aged Yeast for Cell Aging Studies. Master's thesis, Texas A & M University. Available electronically from