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Inkjet printer used to create living cells

March 19, 2012

Clemson University adapts a standard HP printer and cartridges to make microscope slides of living cells.

Scientists from Clemson University have modified an HP Deskjet 500 printer to produced microscope of living cells, reports Gizmodo.

The team have produced a video featuring a step-by-step guide to modifying the printer and cartridges, although Gizmodo irreverently states: “You can do it too! You’ll need a laminar flow cabinet, a sonicator and a centrifuge. Oh, and an old printer.”

The cells are distributed through a standard inkjet cartridge filled with a cell solution, with the cells created to specification: in this instance, with temporary permeability and holes in the cells large enough to allow fluorescent molecules to be injected to allow observers to see what occurs inside the cells.

Dr. Delphine Dean commented: “We first had the idea for this method when we wanted to be able to visualise changes in the cytoskeleton arrangement due to applied forces on cells.

Delphine also noted that while other researchers have been previously using this method to print cells onto slides, it was only recently been discovered that printing cells causes temporary disruption in the membranes, enabling their research methods.

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