Microcavity substrates casted from self-assembled microsphere monolayers for spheroid cell culture

Keyue Shen, Jungwoo Lee, Martin L. Yarmush, Biju Parekkadan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

10 Scopus citations


Multicellular spheroids are an important 3-dimensional cell culture model that reflects many key aspects of in vivo microenvironments. This paper presents a scalable, self-assembly based approach for fabricating microcavity substrates for multicellular spheroid cell culture. Hydrophobic glass microbeads were self-assembled into a tightly packed monolayer through the combined actions of surface tension, gravity, and lateral capillary forces at the water-air interface of a polymer solution. The packed bead monolayer was subsequently embedded in the dried polymer layer. The surface was used as a template for replicating microcavity substrates with perfect spherical shapes. We demonstrated the use of the substrate in monitoring the formation process of tumor spheroids, a proof-of-concept scale-up fabrication procedure into standard microplate formats, and its application in testing cancer drug responses in the context of bone marrow stromal cells. The presented technique offers a simple and effective way of forming high-density uniformly-sized spheroids without microfabrication equipment for biological and drug screening applications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)609-615
Number of pages7
JournalBiomedical Microdevices
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 2014

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Molecular Biology


  • 3-Dimensional Cell Culture
  • Drug Screening
  • Microbead-Microcavity
  • Multicellular Spheroid
  • Self-Assembly

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