Combined Numerical and Experimental Investigation of Localized Electroporation-Based Cell Transfection and Sampling

Prithvijit Mukherjee, S. Shiva P. Nathamgari, John A. Kessler, Horacio D. Espinosa*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


Localized electroporation has evolved as an effective technology for the delivery of foreign molecules into cells while preserving their viability. Consequently, this technique has potential applications in sampling the contents of live cells and the temporal assessment of cellular states at the single-cell level. Although there have been numerous experimental reports on localized electroporation-based delivery, a lack of a mechanistic understanding of the process hinders its implementation in sampling. In this work, we develop a multiphysics model that predicts the transport of molecules into and out of the cell during localized electroporation. Based on the model predictions, we optimize experimental parameters such as buffer conditions, electric field strength, cell confluency, and density of nanochannels in the substrate for successful delivery and sampling via localized electroporation. We also identify that cell membrane tension plays a crucial role in enhancing both the amount and the uniformity of molecular transport, particularly for macromolecules. We qualitatively validate the model predictions on a localized electroporation platform by delivering large molecules (bovine serum albumin and mCherry-encoding plasmid) and by sampling an exogeneous protein (tdTomato) in an engineered cell line.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)12118-12128
Number of pages11
JournalACS nano
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 26 2018


  • electroporation
  • microfluidics
  • molecular transport
  • sampling
  • single-cell analysis
  • transfection

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)
  • Engineering(all)
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)


Dive into the research topics of 'Combined Numerical and Experimental Investigation of Localized Electroporation-Based Cell Transfection and Sampling'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this