Date of Award


Document Type



Santa Clara : Santa Clara University, 2019



First Advisor

Leilani Miller

Second Advisor

Emre Araci

Third Advisor

Donald Riccomini


The terrestrial nematode, Caenorhabditis elegans, is an invaluable model organism for the study of molecular and cellular processes due to their small size, rapid generation time, easy cultivation, and invariant cell number. Additionally, 40% of genes known to be associated with human disease have clear orthologs in the C. elegans genome. In C. elegans genetics research, microinjection of genetic material into the worms is critical. Although an established technique, manual microinjection is tedious, low-throughput, and requires an expert researcher. This thesis details a novel microfluidic device designed to perform high-throughput microinjection. This two-layer, PDMS-based chip integrates microfluidic elements to control worm sorting, reduction of immobilization time and stress, and novel on-chip microinjection using only a positive pressure source. Our project aim is to increase microinjection efficiency, consistency, and accessibility to researchers of all experience levels in order to advance genetics research and genetic engineering technology in C. elegans. Preliminary results are promising, as our on-chip microinjection device has been able to successfully inject dye into C. elegans animals.