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Biomechanics of cancer cells and bacteria using atomic force microscope and modelling

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SPLW01 - Building a bridge between non-equilibrium statistical physics and biology

Cell mechanics of living cells are vital for many cell functions, including mechanotransduction, migration, and differentiation. It is known that changes in cell mechanics are often correlated with disease progression. Cell-matrix adhesion is important for the patterning, integrity and homeostasis of tissues, and may provide a target for therapy, for example in cancer metastasis. Cell mechanics and the adhesion between cells and matrix are also important for tissue engineering. Therefore, it is important to study cell mechanics and cell-to-material adhesion.  In this work, we used the novel fluidics force microscope (FluidFM) to simultaneously measure cell viscoelasticity and cell-to-surface adhesion forces. A better understanding of the mechanical properties of breast cancer cells is likely also to contribute to the design of improved treatments for breast cancer, which has the second highest incidence of all cancers in women worldwide and is the fourth most common cause of cancer mortality. On the other hand, bacteria mechanical properties are important for bacteria to survive in harsh environment (including antibiotics). In this presentation, I will also talk about developing a combined computational modelling and theoretical modelling to simultaneously determine the bacteria envelope stiffness and turgor based on atomic force microscope indentations.

This talk is part of the Isaac Newton Institute Seminar Series series.

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