Frequently Asked Questions
1. Do I need to buy additional equipment to use AIM 3D Cell Culture Chips?
No additional equipment is needed. AIM chips and holders are standalone consumables akin to standard tissue culture plasticware. If you currently perform cell culture experiments in your lab, all you’ll need to procure is a polymerizable hydrogel of your choice to extend your studies into 3D.
2. What experiments can I run with AIM 3D Cell Culture Chips?
To date, there are more than 40 publications by the scientific founders of AIM Biotech and their collaborators using non-commercial versions of the technology. Their studies encompass angiogenesis, transendothelial migration, cancer aggregate dispersion, cancer cell migration, extravasation, intravasation, neurite guidance and stem cell differentiation. AIM 3D Cell Culture Chips are open platforms for you to test new ideas and to develop interesting applications. The first available chip DAX-1 features 1 gel channel flanked by 2 media channels. In the near future, AIM will be releasing chips with different channel configurations that will enable new experimental designs.
3. What hydrogels can I use in AIM 3D Cell Culture Chips?
Any polymerizable hydrogel that suits your application can be used, e.g. various types of collagen, fibrin, etc. The hydrogels may be used on their own or in combination with other components like laminin, Matrigel, etc. However, do note that hydrogel quality may vary from manufacturer to manufacturer. There may also be batch-to-batch variations.
4. Do I need to coat the surface of AIM 3D Cell Culture Chips before seeding cells?
You should coat AIM 3D Cell Culture Chips with the extracellular matrix proteins that best suit your cells. For example, AIM chips are surface-coated with fibronectin before endothelial cells are seeded into the media channel. It is not necessary to coat the media channels if cells are only seeded in the hydrogel.
5. How many cells do I need for each experiment?
The optimal cell density depends on your specific application and the design of your experiment. For example, a DAX-1 chip (with 3 microfluidic sites per chip) will need approximately 30,000 endothelial cells per site to generate a confluent endothelial monolayer overnight. By contrast, you will only need 3000 cells per site if you plan to seed the cells in the hydrogel to study cell migration. AIM chips are flexible platforms that can be adapted to various cell seeding densities; you may have to optimize your cells seeding strategies for your specific applications. Please visit the Applications-Specific Protocols section of this website for more information on specific applications.
6. How often should I change the media?
Unlike standard 2D cell culture flasks, microfluidic devices use very small quantities of culture media. As such, you should change media daily to replenish the consumed media. We recommend that users attach a syringe pump to maintain a stable gradient or interstitial flow.
7. What devices can I connect to AIM chips?
AIM chips can be connected to devices with luer interfaces through AIM Luer Connectors (LUC-1). The connectors attach directly into media channel ports to form a female luer lock interface, enabling users to connect male luer components such as:
• syringe barrels – to form media reservoirs, or to establish pressure gradients for interstitial flow across the gel channel
• syringe pumps via tubing and 3rd party male luer tubing connectors – to run dynamic cell culture experiments, to enable media exchange or to set up interstitial flow or chemical gradients across the gel channel
• future AIM accessories (to be announced)
8. What microscopy techniques can I use to analyze AIM 3D Cell Culture Chips?
AIM 3D Cell Culture Chips can be viewed under bright field, phase contrast, epi-fluorescence, 2-photon and confocal microscopy. The chips are also compatible with oil/water immersion techniques for high magnification imaging. However, do note that signals may become weaker when a high numerical aperture (NA) lens is used to image deeper regions of the chips due to scattering & spherical aberration.
9. Other than microscopy, what analytical techniques/tools can I use with AIM 3D Cell Culture Chips?
You may pool the media in the media channels from multiple sites and detect analytes (typically proteins of interest) present in the media through the enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) or other assays. However, do note that the local concentration of a substance in the channel is usually higher than the concentration in the media that you collect from the ports.
Cells in the media channel can also be collected by trypsinization. Hydrogels can also be dissolved with the appropriate enzymes (e.g. trypsin for fibrin gels, collagenase for collagen gels) to release cells from within the gel. You can perform polymerase chain reaction (PCR) or other assays that utilize collected cells as an input. Do take into account the number of cells that can be collected from each channel for your experimental setup. You may need to adjust your collection strategy for assays that require more cells.
10. Can AIM 3D Cell Culture Chips be reused?
No, the AIM 3D Cell Culture Chips are not designed to be reused. The sterility and functionality of the chips cannot be guaranteed if the chips are used again.
11. Can I use AIM 3D Cell Culture Chips without a microtiter plate holder?
Yes, you can. However, you have to make sure the chips are elevated so that gas exchange can take place through the laminated underside. The microtiter plate holder is designed to ensure the air circulation is not obstructed on the laminated underside. The holder also helps to reduce the evaporation loss of media from the chips.
12. Can I use AIM products to provide contract research/screening services, or for clinical diagnostics?
AIM products are sold under a 'Research Use Only' end user license agreement. If you wish to use AIM products for commercial purposes (such as contract research services, screening services, etc.), please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org for pricing information.
AIM products have not been approved for use in clinical diagnostics. We will be developing products for clinical diagnostics in the future. Stay tuned!
Ordering, Payment & Shipping
1. How do I place an order?
Place your order directly through AIM Biotech’s webstore or through our distributors. Click on the ‘Store’ tab on the navigation menu, select your items, checkout and pay by Paypal or credit card. Alternatively, email your order details to email@example.com for a quotation.
2. Can I make a purchase if I do not have a credit card?
You can set up a Paypal account and pay directly through Paypal. Payments can also be made by transferring funds directly into AIM Biotech’s bank account in Singapore. Bank account details will be provided in the invoice for your order.
3. Can AIM’s products be sent to my country?
AIM is currently shipping products directly to customers worldwide. Our products can be delivered to 220 countries by courier service. AIM products are also available through distributors in select countries.
4. How much should I expect to pay for shipping?
Shipping fees will be displayed when you check out of AIM Biotech’s online store. The fees will also be shown in each quotation. The fees are the direct rates charged by AIM’s appointed couriers, calculated from the volumetric weight of your order.
5. How long will it take my order to reach me?
We typically ship your order within 1 working day. Courier services typically take 3 working days to deliver anywhere in the world. A tracking number will be provided with every shipment.
6. Can I return the products if I’m not satisfied with them?
AIM will provide replacements if manufacturing defects or shipping damage occur. Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you encounter the above.
7. Can I place standing orders? Do you offer bulk discounts?
Please drop us an email at email@example.com to place standing orders. We can arrange to ship our products to you at the quantity & frequency of your choosing. Bulk discount rates will depend on order quantities and will be stated in our quotations.