A microfabricated array of clamps for immobilizing and imaging C. elegans

Lab Chip. 2007 Nov;7(11):1515-23. doi: 10.1039/b707861g. Epub 2007 Aug 16.


This paper describes the fabrication of a microfluidic device for rapid immobilization of large numbers of live C. elegans for performing morphological analysis, microsurgery, and fluorescence imaging in a high-throughput manner. The device consists of two principal elements: (i) an array of 128 wedge-shaped microchannels, or clamps, which physically immobilize worms, and (ii) a branching network of distribution channels, which deliver worms to the array. The flow of liquid through the device (driven by a constant pressure difference between the inlet and the outlet) automatically distributes individual worms into each clamp. It was possible to immobilize more than 100 worms in less than 15 min. The immobilization process was not damaging to the worms: following removal from the array of clamps, worms lived typical lifespans and reproduced normally. The ability to monitor large numbers of immobilized worms easily and in parallel will enable researchers to investigate physiology and behavior in large populations of C. elegans.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Caenorhabditis elegans*
  • Equipment Design
  • Microfluidics / instrumentation*