|Affiliation:||School Of Mechanical Engineering, Faculty of Engineering
|Wolfson Mechanical Engineering building|
|Postal Address:||School of Mechanical Engineering|
Faculty of Engineering
Tel Aviv University
Tel Aviv 69978
Biological cells are able to apply, sense and respond to mechanical forces which control their function. Cells also live in environments that exhibit unique mechanical properties with nonlinear elasticity and viscoelasticity. In our biomechanics laboratory at TAU Mechanical Engineering, we seek to understand how such cellular and environmental mechanical factors direct cells toward defined fates and organizations. We use experimental and numerical approaches to quantify the cell-induced material deformations, strains, and stresses throughout three-dimensional biomaterials (mainly hydrogels) during various biological processes including cell division, invasion and cell-cell interaction. Our research allows to better understand how cells interact with their microenvironment, knowledge that can be used to direct and control cell function for regenerative medicine applications.
Figure 1: (a) Quantification of cell-induced gel displacements using confocal microscopy
and digital volume correlation (DVC). The image shows 3D colored quivers of matrix displacements induced by a fibroblast cell in a fibrin gel. Each arrow is a vector indicating the direction of movement with the magnitude defined by the color bar. (b) Mechanical interaction between two cells (green) embedded in a fibrous gel (gray). Fibers of the gel condense and align between the cells due to cell contractility.