2008 NSTI Nanotechnology Conference and Trade Show - Nanotech 2008 - 11th Annual

Partnering Events:

TechConnect Summit
Clean Technology 2008

Probing the Mechanical Properties of both Biological Cells and their Surroundings through Novel Techniques

J.A. Zimberlin, P. Wadsworth, A.J. Crosby
University of Massachusetts, US

hydrogel, caviation rheology, microlens array, biosensor

The relationship between cells and their environment is one of dynamic reciprocity, whereby the cells can have a profound influence on their surrounding and at the same time, the surroundings influence the cells. One example of this dynamic reciprocity arises from the effect of mechanical properties of an environment on the cell and of the cell on its environment. Our research focuses on understanding these properties by developing novel techniques that focus on local mechanical properties and experimental strategies that provide insight into intercellular mechanics. The first technique, Cavitation Rheology, focuses on determining the local mechanical properties as observed by cells in three-dimensional matrices. It allows us to characterize materials on cellular length scales offering spatial resolution at arbitrary points with ease and has the unique potential for use in vivo. The second technique, Living Microlens Arrays, focuses on studying the collective contractile nature of monolayers of cells that are grown on smart surfaces. This technique will allow us to study how the forces of cells interact with each other to develop strains on a surface. Through the completion of these parts, we build a foundation for understanding both the forces exerted on cells and those that the cells exert.

Nanotech 2008 Conference Program Abstract