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Microfluidic devices provide a platform for analyzing both natural and synthetic multicellular systems. Currently, substantial capital investment and expertise are required for creating microfluidic devices using standard soft-lithography. These requirements present barriers to entry for many nontraditional users of microfluidics, including developmental biology laboratories. Therefore, fabrication methodologies that enable rapid device iteration and work “out-of-the-box” can accelerate the integration of microfluidics with developmental biology. Here, we have created and characterized low-cost hybrid polyethylene terephthalate laminate (PETL) microfluidic devices that are suitable for cell and micro-organ culture assays. These devices were validated with mammalian cell lines and the Drosophila wing imaginal disc as a model micro-organ. First, we developed and tested PETLs that are compatible with both long-term cultures and high-resolution imaging of cells and organs. Further, we achieved spatiotemporal control of chemical gradients across the wing discs with a multilayered microfluidic device. Finally, we created a multilayered device that enables controllable mechanical loading of micro-organs. This mechanical actuation assay was used to characterize the response of larval wing discs at different developmental stages. Interestingly, increased deformation of the older wing discs for the same mechanical loading suggests that the compliance of the organ is increased in preparation for subsequent morphogenesis. Together, these results demonstrate the applicability of hybrid PETL devices for biochemical and mechanobiology studies on micro-organs and provide new insights into the mechanics of organ development.



This article may be downloaded for personal use only. Any other use requires prior permission of the author and AIP Publishing. This article appeared in M. Levis et al., Biomicrofluidics 13, 024111 (2019); and may be found at

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