Aygin: Microscopy compatible mini-incubator

Nowadays, there is a significant need to culture cells using incubators. Pharmacy companies often use these devices for production and testing drugs, as live-cell imaging can be used to screen chemicals, cosmetics, and other drug components for their effectiveness and they can access drug cytotoxicity in different cell types. Also, virology and vaccine products use live cell cultures, because it can be used to study viruses in order to develop new vaccines, such as SARS-CoV-2 vaccine products. In addition, many research groups in the field of biology need incubators for the culture and maintenance of living cells. But in conventional incubators, the lack of real-time microscopic is felt.

Here, we report the construction of a cell culture mini-incubator named Aygin, which provides a special internal environment for cells while being compatible with inverted microscopy, resulting in time-lapse imaging and video recording of cultured cells. Among the characteristics of the internal environment of Aygin, we can mention the temperature, the presence of 95% humidity and 5% CO2, which is necessary for cell viability, and provides the long-term cell culture. There are many products on the market that meet these criteria, but the inverted microscope is enclosed inside the incubator, making the incubator bulky and inconvenient to disassemble.

An overview of the designed and modeled mini-incubator

Therefore, Aygin is a cell culture mini-incubator that has been designed and built, and has the following main features:

  • provides long-term cell viability conditions.
  • It is portable and small enough, so it can be placed on the stage of the inverted microscope, and does not interfere with the operation of the microscope.
  • possible to sterilize and all components can be autoclaved.
  • It can be easily assembled and disassembled.
  • Due to the importance of statistical data in biology experiments, it has six wells for cell culture.
  • It provides the possibility of time-lapse imaging and long-term video recording.
  • It is possible to add perfusion of the culture medium for long-term cell cultures.
In the figure, a view of Aygin can be seen, which is undergoing experimental testing (simultaneous imaging and culture medium perfusion).

To ensure the performance of Aygin, cell viability tests such as crystal violet, MTT, flow cytometry and time-lapse imaging tests have been performed on the device for four days and acceptable results have been obtained. In the figures below, the results of flow cytometry test after 4 days for VERO cells and time-lapse imaging for MDA-MB-231 cells are shown.

Flow cytometry test performed on VERO cells cultured in Aygin and incubator (control) after 4 days.


MDA-MB-231 cells cultured in Aygin that imaged at different times (30 min, 24 h, 48 h, and 85 h).


Contact Us

Ali Talebipour

          Email: alitalebipour@aut.ac.ir

Dr. Mehrdad Saviz

            Email: msaviz@aut.ac.ir