Mapping Cell Viability Quantitatively and Independently from Cell Density in 3D Gels Noninvasively

Brian Archer, Julia Mack, Sara Acosta, Russell Nakasone, Fadi Dahoud, Khalid Youssef, Abraham Goldstein, Amichai Goldsman, Mathias Clemens Held, Martin Wiese, Bernhard Bluemich, Matthias Wessling, Meike Emondts, Juergen Klankermayer, Luisa Iruela-Arispe, Louis Bouchard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: In biomanufacturing there is a need for quantitative methods to map cell viability and density inside 3D bioreactors to assess health and proliferation over time. Recently, noninvasive MRI readouts of cell density have been achieved. However, the ratio of live to dead cells was not varied. Herein we present an approach for measuring the viability of cells embedded in a hydrogel independently from cell density to map cell number and health. Methods: Independent quantification of cell viability and density was achieved by calibrating the 1H magnetization transfer- (MT) and diffusion-weighted NMR signals to samples of known cell density and viability using a multivariate approach. Maps of cell viability and density were generated by weighting NMR images by these parameters post-calibration. Results: Using this method, the limits of detection (LODs) of total cell density and viable cell density were found to be 3.88x10^8 cells mL^-1 Hz^-1/2 and 2.36x10^9 viable cells mL^-1 Hz^-1/2 respectively. Conclusion: This mapping technique provides a noninvasive means of visualizing cell viability and number density within optically opaque bioreactors. Significance: We anticipate that such nondestructive readouts will provide valuable feedback for monitoring and controlling cell populations in bioreactors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalIEEE Transactions on Biomedical Engineering
StateAccepted/In press - 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • biomanufacturing
  • bioreactor
  • cell density
  • Density measurement
  • Electron tubes
  • hydrogel
  • Magnetic resonance imaging
  • MRI
  • noninvasive
  • Nuclear magnetic resonance
  • proliferation
  • Sociology
  • Statistics
  • Three-dimensional displays
  • viability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomedical Engineering

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Mapping Cell Viability Quantitatively and Independently from Cell Density in 3D Gels Noninvasively'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this