Combining deflective dielectrophoretic barriers with controlled pressure driven liquid flows in microfluidic devices allows accurate handling of particles such as biological cells in suspensions. Working towards cell-based lab-on-a-chip applications, a platform permitting rapid testing of devices having different dielectrophoretic and fluidic subunits was developed. The performance of such a system is shown in the cases of (A) flooding a small number of immobilised cells with a dye and (B) transient buffer swapping of a large number of cells in flow. The transition times for moving cells from one reagent to the other are below 0.5 s in the case of flow-through cell dipping.