Adv Healthc Mater, Apr 2020

(De)form and Function: Measuring Cellular Forces with Deformable Materials and Deformable Structures

Ava M Obenaus, Molly Y Mollica, Nathan J Sniadecki


The ability for biological cells to produce mechanical forces is important for the development, function, and homeostasis of tissue. The measurement of cellular forces is not a straightforward task because individual cells are microscopic in size and the forces they produce are at the nanonewton scale. Consequently, studies in cell mechanics rely on advanced biomaterials or flexible structures that permit one to infer these forces by the deformation they impart on the material or structure. Herein, the scientific progression on the use of deformable materials and deformable structures to measure cellular forces are reviewed. The findings and insights made possible with these approaches in the field of cell mechanics are summarized.


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