Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name

M. Eng.


Mechanical Engineering

Committee Chair

Keynton, Robert S.

Author's Keywords

Mechanical Engineering; Biomedical Engineering; Anatomy; Biology


Endothelium; Arteries--Diseases


Assessing the functionality of the endothelium can provide insight into the initiation and formation of arterial diseases. One of the most important functions of the endothelial layer is its permeability. The integrity of the cell monolayer and its ability to transport molecules can be assessed in vitro by investigating the electrical impedance. In this study, a microfluidic platform was created using an electrode-patterned glass substrate and microfluidic poly(dimethyl siloxane) (PDMS) substrate. The electrode glass base of the structure was fabricated with platinum square electrodes of various sizes ranging from 10x10 ìm2 to 160x160 ìm2 and a larger, common counter electrode. Master microfluidic molds for PDMS casting were created by micro-milling Lexan® and photolithographically patterning SU-8. The microfluidic PDMS substrates reversibly and conformally bonded to the glass-electrode substrate. The microfluidic platforms were characterized by loading the microchannels with cell growth media alone, cell growth media and fibronectin, and cell growth media, fibronectin and human umbilical vein endothelial cells and obtaining impedance spectra. The experiments were performed under both no flow and flow conditions. Fibronectin did not significantly alter the collected impedance spectrum compared to media alone under no flow conditions. Under no flow conditions, impedance spectra measurements were able to detect the presence of cultured cells on the electrodes. The presence of fibronectin and various tested flow rates did not alter the impedance spectrum compared to media alone under static conditions. After further investigations, the microfluidic platform will become a versatile means of characterizing endothelial cell layer behavior.