Colloquium: “Nanoscale Imaging of Mechanical Properties of Live Cells” – Wednesday Sept. 25, 2019 at 3 PM

Professor Adam Wax
Department of Biomedical Engineering
Duke University
Durham, NC
George P. Williams, Jr. Lecture Hall, (Olin 101)
Wednesday, Sept. 25, 2019, at 3:00 PM

There will be a reception in the Olin Lounge at approximately 4 PM following the colloquium. All interested persons are cordially invited to attend.


The mechanisms by which cells respond to mechanical stimuli are essential for cell function yet not well understood. Many rheological tools have been developed to characterize cellular viscoelastic properties but these typically have limited throughput or require complex schemes. We have developed quantitative phase imaging methods which can image structural changes in cells due to mechanical stimuli at the nanoscale. These methods are label free and can image cells in culture or flowing through microfluidic
chips, providing high throughput measurements. We will present our single-shot phase imaging method that measures refractive index variance and relates it to disorder strength, which correlates to measured cellular mechanical properties such as shear modulus. Studies will be presented which relate mechanical properties to early carcinogenic events, investigate the role of specific cellular structural proteins in mechanotransduction and track water regulation due to mechanical stress.

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