In previous work, we have described the adhesive capture of circulating stem cells to surfaces coated with adhesive selectin protein, both in vitro and in vivo. Here we describe PDMS surfaces microfabricated to contain an array of square 80 × 80 × 80 micron cavities. These cavities are intended to provide a local bioreactor environment to culture stem cells over extended periods of time, while sheltered from the higher shear stresses of the surrounding blood flow external of the cavities. In this paper we present in vitro flow experiments with polymeric, blood cell-sized microspheres, showing the creation of stable vortices within the microscale cavities. Computational fluid dynamics (CFD) was performed to predict the velocity field within the cavity, and for comparison with experimentally determined microsphere velocities. Future work will establish the ability to place local chemoattract molecules within the cavity interior, and the ability to accumulate viable stem cells within these cavities.

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