Embryonic stem (ES) cells are capable of proliferating and differentiating to form cells of the three embryonic germ layers, namely, endoderm, mesoderm, and ectoderm. The utilization of human ES cell derivatives requires the ability to direct differentiation to specific lineages in defined, efficient, and scalable systems. Better markers are needed to identify early differentiation. Lectins have been reported as an attractive alternative to the common stem cell markers. They have been used to identify, characterize, and isolate various cell subpopulations on the basis of the presentation of specific carbohydrate groups on the cell surface. This article demonstrates how simple adhesion assays in lectin-coated microfluidic channels can provide key information on the interaction of lectins with ES and definitive endoderm cells and thereby track early differentiation. The microfluidic approach incorporates both binding strength and cell surface receptor density, whereas traditional flow cytometry only incorporates the latter. Both approaches are examined and shown to be complementary with the microfluidic approach providing more biologically relevant information.