My friend and I designed and built a custom syringe pump that actuates 48 vertically oriented syringes. The device has been used in dozen of experiments at the Utah Center of Excellence for Biomedical Microfluidics and has been a crucial to a conference paper and two journal articles.
This device grew out of a research project I was working on to create a system for devising tailored cancer treatments for ovarian cancer patients. The system was built around a microfluidic “printhead” that delivered treatments to cells or tissue sequestered in wells.
The motivation for a custom syringe pump was twofold. First, the lab didn’t own enough syringe pumps to actuate all forty-eight of the printhead’s channels. Additionally, commercially available pumps are limited to actuating at most ten syringes and cost a few thousand dollar each. Second, air bubbles inadvertently kill cells if they entered the wells, so reducing this phenomenon was critical.