Microfluidic and Nanofluidic Intracellular Delivery

Jeongsoo Hur, Aram J. Chung

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

40 Citations (Scopus)


Innate cell function can be artificially engineered and reprogrammed by introducing biomolecules, such as DNAs, RNAs, plasmid DNAs, proteins, or nanomaterials, into the cytosol or nucleus. This process of delivering exogenous cargos into living cells is referred to as intracellular delivery. For instance, clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats (CRISPR)-Cas9 gene editing begins with internalizing Cas9 protein and guide RNA into cells, and chimeric antigen receptor-T (CAR-T) cells are prepared by delivering CAR genes into T lymphocytes for cancer immunotherapies. To deliver external biomolecules into cells, tools, including viral vectors, and electroporation have been traditionally used; however, they are suboptimal for achieving high levels of intracellular delivery while preserving cell viability, phenotype, and function. Notably, as emerging solutions, microfluidic and nanofluidic approaches have shown remarkable potential for addressing this open challenge. This review provides an overview of recent advances in microfluidic and nanofluidic intracellular delivery strategies and discusses new opportunities and challenges for clinical applications. Furthermore, key considerations for future efforts to develop microfluidics- and nanofluidics-enabled next-generation intracellular delivery platforms are outlined.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2004595
JournalAdvanced Science
Issue number15
Publication statusPublished - 2021 Aug 4

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the Samsung Research Funding and Incubation Center for Future Technology (grant no. SRFC‐IT1802‐03), the Korea University grant (K1916951), and the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) grant funded by the Ministry of Science and ICT (No. 2021R1A2C2006224).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 The Authors. Advanced Science published by Wiley-VCH GmbH


  • cell transfection
  • gene delivery
  • intracellular delivery
  • microfluidics
  • nanofluidics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • General Chemical Engineering
  • General Materials Science
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology (miscellaneous)
  • General Engineering
  • General Physics and Astronomy


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