Cell adhesion plays a fundamental role in numerous physiological and pathological processes, and measurements of the adhesion strength are important in fields ranging from basic cell biology research to the development of implantable biomaterials. Our group and others have recently demonstrated that microfluidic devices offer advantages for characterizing the adhesion of cells to protein-coated surfaces [1,2]. Microfluidic devices offer many advantages over conventional assays, including the ability to apply high shear stresses in the laminar regime and the opportunity to directly observe cell behavior during testing. However, a key disadvantage is that such assays require cells to be cultured inside closed microchannels. Assays based on closed channels restrict the types of surfaces that can be examined and are not compatible with many standard techniques in cell biology research. Furthermore, while techniques for cell culture in microchannels have become common, maintaining the viability of certain types of cells in channels remains a challenge.

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