Multi-stream Perfusion Bioreactor Integrated with Outlet Fractionation for Dynamic Cell Culture

Patrick Erickson, Aneesha Doshi, Gunjan Jetley, Param Amin, Aamena Mejevdiwala, Ashna Patel, Raphaela Bento, Biju Parekkadan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Certain cell and tissue functions operate within the dynamic time scale of minutes to hours that are poorly resolved by conventional culture systems. This work has developed a low-cost perfusion bioreactor system that allows culture medium to be continuously perfused into a cell culture module and fractionated in a downstream module to measure dynamics on this scale. The system is constructed almost entirely from commercially available parts and can be parallelized to conduct independent experiments in conventional multi-well cell culture plates simultaneously. This video article demonstrates how to assemble the base setup, which requires only a single multichannel syringe pump and a modified fraction collector to perfuse up to six cultures in parallel. Useful variants on the modular design are also presented that allow for controlled stimulation dynamics, such as solute pulses or pharmacokinetic-like profiles. Importantly, as solute signals travel through the system, they are distorted due to solute dispersion. Furthermore, a method for measuring the residence time distributions (RTDs) of the components of the perfusion setup with a tracer using MATLAB is described. RTDs are useful to calculate how solute signals are distorted by the flow in the multi-compartment system. This system is highly robust and reproducible, so basic researchers can easily adopt it without the need for specialized fabrication facilities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere63935
JournalJournal of Visualized Experiments
Issue number185
StatePublished - Jul 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Chemical Engineering(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)


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