Microfluidic trap array for massively parallel imaging of Drosophila embryos

Thomas J. Levario, Mei Zhan, Bomyi Lim, Stanislav Y. Shvartsman, Hang Lu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

51 Scopus citations


Here we describe a protocol for the fabrication and use of a microfluidic device to rapidly orient >700 Drosophila embryos in parallel for end-on imaging. The protocol describes master microfabrication (∼1 d), polydimethylsiloxane molding (few hours), system setup and device operation (few minutes) and imaging (depending on application). Our microfluidics-based approach described here is one of the first to facilitate rapid orientation for end-on imaging, and it is a major breakthrough for quantitative studies on Drosophila embryogenesis. The operating principle of the embryo trap is based on passive hydrodynamics, and it does not require direct manipulation of embryos by the user; biologists following the protocol should be able to repeat these procedures. The compact design and fabrication materials used allow the device to be used with traditional microscopy setups and do not require specialized fixtures. Furthermore, with slight modification, this array can be applied to the handling of other model organisms and oblong objects.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)721-736
Number of pages16
JournalNature Protocols
Issue number4
StatePublished - Mar 2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology


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