A simple, low cost, commercial solution for the encapsulation of up to a million cells in individual micro-scaffolds in a highly parallel, reproducible manner.

Encapsulating biological materials within hydrogel droplets allows cells to be grown within three-dimensional scaffolds, more closely mimicking their native physiological environment.

What are hydrogels?

Hydrogels are semi-solid materials composed of a network of insoluble hydrophilic polymers which absorb water. Hydrogels can either be naturally occurring, such as agarose, acrylamide, or collagen; or chemically synthesised, such as polyethylene glycol.

Hydrogels can provide solid-phase scaffolds for cells while allowing diffusion of dissolved nutrients and gases throughout. Therefore, cells encapsulated within hydrogel scaffolds can remain viable for extended periods of time or even proliferate throughout the hydrogel matrix, making hydrogel encapsulation of cells a versatile tool for understanding biological systems.

Encapsulation of cells within hydrogel scaffolds can be performed on the Nadia instrument and novel protocols and workflows for cell-encapsulation within hydrogels can be developed and optimized with Nadia Innovate or the Nadia Go.

Encapsulating cells in agarose scaffolds: nadAROSE

Agarose is a naturally occurring polysaccharide hydrogel, extracted from certain types of red seaweed. It has excellent biocompatibility, thermo-reversible gel behaviour, is non-toxic and low-cost, all of which make it a versatile and popular material for life-sciences applications.

Agarose, when solidified into spherical scaffolds, can provide a solid support to cells encapsulated within, while allowing diffusion of nutrients and gases and cell secretions. Agarose scaffolds can therefore display some of the properties of the native physiological environment of living cells. For this reason, cells encapsulated in agarose can remain viable for extended periods of time within the three-dimensional microenvironments.


Cell-containing agarose scaffolds can be used in the following applications:

Agarose scaffolds produced with the nadAROSE kit can be analysed by flow cytometry and sorted by fluorescent activated cell sorting (FACS).

Flow cytometry

Agarose scaffolds can be used to retain secretions in discrete compartments with their originator cell. Power antibody discovery from secreting plasma cells.

Cell secretion studies

Hold two independent cells within an agarose scaffold to investigate cell-cell interactions or perform cell reporter assays for effect or molecule discovery.

Cell-cell interactions

Use agarose scaffolds for high-throughput bacterial and fungal micro-culture screening.

Microbial cell culture

nadAROSE kit

Construct the future of single cell research with the nadAROSE kit

The nadAROSE kit provides a simple, low-cost commercial solution for the encapsulation of single cells in individual agarose micro-scaffolds in a high throughput, reproducible manner on the Nadia instrument. Due to the high-throughput the cost per cell is drastically reduced compared to other methods.

The nadAROSE kit is compatible with many downstream applications. The cell-containing agarose scaffolds are compatible with flow cytometry instruments and could also be used for cell-cell interaction studies, cell secretome studies or for microbiological cell culture, to name a few. Whatever the application, you can do it while maintaining single cell identity. The nadAROSE kit also provides the necessary reagents cells from their agarose scaffolds for further cell analysis or merging of workflows.

Custom hydrogel encapsulation application development

Using Dolomite Bio’s core pressure-controlled microfluidics technology, the Nadia Innovate and Nadia Go, enable the development of user-defined single cell protocols and applications. For high throughput parallel operation, newly developed protocols can be transferred to the the Nadia Instrument.

Alternatively, for projects that only require single lane chips, we have recently developed the Nadia Go, enabling access to the customizable features of the Nadia Innovate without purchasing a Nadia Instrument alongside it.

Customizable parameters on the Nadia Innovate
and Nadia Go

By allowing users to control parameters such as droplet size, droplet frequency, temperature, agitation and timing, innovation is unlocked.

Design a protocol for cell encapsulation in your own hydrogel formulation with the Nadia Innovate or the Nadia Go.





Our customizable microfluidic platforms

Nadia Innovate

Revolutionize your research with Nadia Innovate, a complete microfluidic platform for exploring, developing, and scaling new ideas or pre-optmized processes

  • Customize parameters to create user-defined protocols and applications.
  • Develop new microfluidic based workflows.
  • Deploy newly developed protocols by transferring them to the Nadia Instrument for scalable, high throughput, parallel operation.

Nadia Go

Power your research with Nadia Go- a compact and affordable microfluidic system

  • Customize parameters to create user-defined protocols and applications.
  • Develop new microfluidic based workflows.
  • Discover the unlimited possibilities of an open platform, built for novel microfluidic research and custom genomics projects.


Learn more about nadAROSE

Download the nadAROSE app note


Hydrogels, Microfluidics, and Cell Biology


‘Using hydrogels in single cell research- getting started’


Is the agarose provided in the kits in powder form?
The agarose aliquots are provided as a solid gel that is melted before use.
How many samples can I run in parallel?
You can run from 1 to 8 samples in parallel.
How many cells can you run?
Up to 5000 cells/ul.
How can you recover cells from the agarose scaffolds?
The use of a combination of β-agarase, β-agarase buffer, and DMEM can help dissolve scaffolds while maintaining cell viability. See application note for more details. Note: the reagents for digesting agarose scaffolds are not provided in the nadAROSE kit.
How long can you store scaffolds after recovery?
The agarose scaffolds can remain stable for up to a week; however, we recommend immediately processing the scaffolds due to cell viability.