Fabrication and Operation of Microfluidic Hanging-Drop Networks

  • Patrick M. Misun
  • Axel K. Birchler
  • Moritz Lang
  • Andreas Hierlemann
  • Olivier Frey
Part of the Methods in Molecular Biology book series (MIMB, volume 1771)


The hanging-drop network (HDN) is a technology platform based on a completely open microfluidic network at the bottom of an inverted, surface-patterned substrate. The platform is predominantly used for the formation, culturing, and interaction of self-assembled spherical microtissues (spheroids) under precisely controlled flow conditions. Here, we describe design, fabrication, and operation of microfluidic hanging-drop networks.

Key words

Spheroid Microtissue Tissue engineering 3D tissue Scaffold-free Microfluidics Long-term culturing Perfusion Organ-on-a-chip Body-on-a-chip 



This work was financially supported by FP7 of the EU through the project “Body on a chip,” ICT-FET-296257, and the ERC Advanced Grant “NeuroCMOS” (contract 267351), as well as by an individual Ambizione Grant 142440 from the Swiss National Science Foundation for Olivier Frey. The research leading to these results also received funding from the People Programme (Marie Curie Actions) of the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme (FP7/2007-2013) under REA grant agreement no. [291734]. We would like to thank Alexander Stettler, ETH Zurich for his expertise and support in the cleanroom, and we acknowledge the Single Cell Unit of D-BSSE, ETH Zurich for assistance in microscopy issues. M.L. is grateful to the members of the Guet and Tkačik groups, IST Austria, for valuable comments and support.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Bio Engineering Laboratory, Department of Biosystems Science and EngineeringETH ZurichBaselSwitzerland
  2. 2.IST AustriaKlosterneuburgAustria

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