Stanford Cardiovascular Institute and Department of Mechanical Engineering
MEMS tools are ideal to interface electrical, mechanical and biological systems and to integrate from the macro to nanoscale. This talk will include an overview of research and engineering activities on MEMS-based devices for micro and nanoscale force detection and our studies of mechanotransduction at the organism and cellular level. I will discuss design issues for piezoresistive force sensing cantilevers, the development of force clamps based on these MEMS sensors, and the study mechanotransduction and biomechanics affecting the sense of touch in the model organism C. elegans. I will also discuss recent work on the mechanics and behavior of individual cells to understand how the mechanical environment mediates the biomechanics and response of adhesion, force generation, renewal and differentiation. We study the differentiation, morphology, and force generation of cultured cells to their mechanical environment to understand fundamental cell processes in tissue engineering applications. We have developed parallel and single cell dynamic cell culture platforms to study the role of drugs, adhesion proteins, extracellular matrix, or expression levels in cells in response to mechanical stimulation. These capabilities allow us to examine mechanotransduction mechanisms, specifically sensitivity to applied strain, in a range of cell types.
This work is funded by NSF CAREER ECS-0449400, NSF EFRI CBE0735551, NIH R21/R33 HL089027, NIH R01 EB006745, and CIRM RC1-00151-1.