With the introduction of microtechnology and microfluidic platforms for cell culture, stem cell research can be put into a new context. Inside microfluidics, microenvironments can be more precisely controlled and their influence on cell fate studied. Microfluidic devices can be made transparent and the cells monitored real time by imaging, using fluorescence markers to probe cell functions and cell fate. This article gives a perspective on the yet untapped utility of microfluidic devices for stem cell research. It will guide the biologists through some basic microtechnology and the application of microfluidics to cell research, as well as highlight to the engineers the cell culture capabilities of microfluidics.
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