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This technology is a device for controlling apical flow in a cell culture grown in a cell culture insert. It comprises an apical insert with a projecting portion, a contact surface, inlet and outlet channels, and a sealed apical chamber for contamination prevention. The projecting portion extends to a lesser depth into the cell culture insert, and the contact surface maintains a spatial relationship between the projecting portion and the cell culture insert. Sensors positioned on the projecting portion can then measure biological conditions like temperature, oxygen concentration, pH, and transepithelial electrical resistance. Additionally, for the culturing of strict anaerobes in the presence of a human colon, or other mucosal barrier, this device exhibits control of oxygen down to completely anaerobic conditions. Generally, this innovative device more accurately envisions in vitro models for complex cell systems.