Novel Array Insert for One-Step 3D Cultures and Histological Processing

Schematic diagram of the technology. Organoid cultures can be grown in a basket array the size of a 96-well plate. The array can be shrunk down to fit into a histology cassette without need to transfer the culture.

Invention Summary:

Organoids are multicellular 3D structures that faithfully mimic their in vivo organ counterparts and are valuable tools for studying aspects of an organ in an in vitro setting. However, despite their use in research for over a decade, it is still challenging to process 3D cell cultures efficiently and accurately for histological assays. Histological analysis requires embedding the organoid cultures into a substrate that can then be sliced into cross sections. The difficulty arises in transferring the organoid without disrupting the three-dimensional architecture, which can be a delicate and time intensive process.

Rutgers scientists have developed a 3D cell-culture basket array made of a size-variable smart polymer that enables direct histological processing of organoids, spheroids, and other 3D tissue cultures in a single step.  Uniquely, the same basket array can be used to initially grow 3D cultures in a cell culture dish, such as a 96-well plate, and through a shrinkage process that does not affect the biological material, transforms into a size small enough to fit into a paraffin-embedding cassette. This technology streamlines work flow by combining the growth and processing of 3D cultures for histological analysis into a single high-throughput platform.

Market Applications:

  • High throughput analysis of 3D cultures
  • Direct histological processing of organoids from cell culture platform


  • Culture and analyze organoids in a single array
  • Streamlines 3D cell-culture work flow
  • Minimal disruption of 3D cell-culture architectures
  • Eliminates need to remove organoid from culture dish for paraffin embedding
  • Facilitates rapid histological analysis

Intellectual Property & Development Status:

Patent pending. Available for licensing and/or collaboration.

Relevant Publications:

Chadwick, M. et al. iScience 2020 Aug 21;23(8):101365.

Yang C., et al. Advanced Materials, 2020 Aug 31;e2004285.

Patent Information:
For Information, Contact:
Shemaila Sultana
Assistant Director
Rutgers University
Drug Discovery/Screening