Stamping-based Method for Microwell Production and Cell Aggregate Formation

Tech ID: 30570 / UC Case 2019-304-0


Researchers at the University of California, Davis have developed a 3-D printed stamping system (the “Aggrestamp”) with the capability for in-situ production of microwells that facilitate cell aggregate formation.

Full Description

Microwell plates are flat plates with multiple divots (“wells”) that can hold a variety of target samples -including cell cultures. These plates have broad applications in biological research and diagnostic testing, and can be involved in many processes - including filtration, separation, storage, reaction mixing, cell culture/tissue engineering and antimicrobial detection applications. Thus, efficient and specialized microwell production techniques can improve a variety of research methods. Additionally, cell aggregation (the linking of similar-typed cells) is particularly important in the study of tissue development and other biotechnology-related research. However, cell aggregation is difficult to achieve consistently. It relies on many factors - including the properties of the samples’ environment. Thus, specialized techniques and equipment that can help promote cell aggregation formation would have widespread applications.

Researchers at the University of California, Davis have developed a 3-D printed stamp system that produces microwells in situ, while also facilitating cell aggregate formation. This “Aggrestamp” technology features a design that allows for the rapid fabrication of reproducible microwells into agarose molds. By pressing microwells onto agarose gel that is already located on a cell culture plate well, cell aggregation formation is facilitated and the risk of infection or contamination is reduced. Testing this technology by producing mesenchymal stem cell (MSC) spheroids confirmed its efficiency advantages compared to previous protocols. The Aggrestamp produced a larger and more consistent spheroid size – with significantly higher DNA content per spheroid. Overall, this technology will provide rapid microwell production while facilitating cell aggregation.


  •         High throughput production of cellular aggregates, spheroids, and organoids
  •         Process has multiple molecular biology, diagnostic, drug screening and tissue engineering applications
  •         Potential platform technology


  •         Increases productivity of cell aggregate formation process
  •         Produces more consistent spheroids more efficiently
  •         Increases user handling and user control over the microwell formation process
  •         Reduces risk of infection due to improved sterilization and in situ formation directly on cell culture plate

Patent Status

Patent Pending


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  • Fernandez, Tomas
  • Leach, Kent
  • Tenorio, Alejandro

Other Information


Microwell, cell aggregate, cell spheroid, agarose microwell, assay, microtiter

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