Cell Biomechanics

Lucas Ting, Shirin Feghhi, and Nathan Sniadecki,
Mechanical Engineering and Bioengineering, University of Washington

The Cell Biomechanics Lab investigates how cells are influenced by mechanical interactions at the micro and nanoscale. To pursue these goals, we are developing new tools - micro- and nano-devices, quantitative image analysis, and computational models - that we use to understand the underpinnings of biomechanics and mechanobiology. The greater impact of our work is to delineate how cell mechanics affects cardiovascular disease and cancer in order to catalyze new strategies for their treatment. By working at the intersection of mechanics and biology, we are also developing an increased understanding on the theories of soft, active, and multifunctional materials. (from the Cell Biomechanics Lab website).

At the MFF, the cell biomechanics group fabricates nanoposts to measure cell traction forces.

In these images, you see nanoposts fabricated by direct-write ebeam lithography, in this case in 700 nm tall HSQ resist.

Using techniques developed in the Cell Biomechanics Lab, these nanoposts are replicated into PDMS, biofunctionalized, and then used to measure traction forces of the cells, as shown here:

As an example of the process technology developed to further this research, this SEM micrograph shows a cross-section of an array of high-aspect ratio silicon pillars patterned by e-beam lithography and etched with ICP processing, to be used for building templates of flexible pillars for cell biomechanics studies.

For further information and publications, visit the
Cell Biomechanics Lab website