HEMI Research Shows New Method of Obtaining Mechanical Properties of Cells in 3D Microenvironment

Sep 6, 2019 | No Comments | By Jessica Ader

A paper recently published in Biophysical Journal showcases how HEMI researchers have created a new method to probe the mechanical properties of cells in 3D polymer scaffolds at various strain rates. This new method will be helpful, as some cell types (such as astrocytes in the brain) can exhibit very different morphologies and phenotypes when grown in 2D instead of 3D.

Dr. Amy Dagro worked with HEMI Fellows Prof. Sung Hoon Kang and Prof. KT Ramesh to apply a technique called optical trapping to perform indentation to individual brain cells.  Most previous methods for probing the mechanical properties of cells are limited to either: A) testing cells grown on flat surfaces (2D) or B) measuring the properties of intracellular contents of cells in 3D (i.e. only measuring the inside of the cell).  Her experimental setup is unique in that users will be able to measure the overall mechanical properties of cellular compartments while they exist in a more favorable 3D environment.

To view the article in full, visit https://www.cell.com/biophysj/fulltext/S0006-3495(19)30631-9.

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