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Title:Emergent behavior of cells on microfabricated soft polymeric substrates
Author(s):Anand, Sandeep Venkit
Director of Research:Saif, M. Taher A.
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Saif, M. Taher A.
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Bashir, Rashid; Kong, Hyun Joon; Nam, SungWoo
Department / Program:Mechanical Sci & Engineering
Discipline:Mechanical Engineering
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):biological machines
emergent behavior
polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS)
traction force
Abstract:In recent years, cell based bio-actuators like cardiomyocytes and skeletal muscle cells have emerged as popular choices for powering biological machines consisting of soft polymeric scaffolds at the micro and macro scales. This is owing to their unique ability to generate spontaneous, synchronous contractions either autonomously or under externally applied fields. Most of the biological machine designs reported in literature use single cells or cell clusters conjugated with biocompatible soft polymers like polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) and hydrogels to produce some form of locomotion by converting chemical energy of the cells to mechanical energy. The mode of locomotion may vary, but the fundamental mechanism that these biological machines exploit to achieve locomotion stems from cell substrate interactions leading to large deformations of the substrates (relative to the cell size). However, the effect of such large scale, dynamic deformation of the substrates on the cellular and cluster level organization of the cells remains elusive. This dissertation tries to explore the emergent behavior of cells on different types of micro-scale deformable, soft polymeric substrates. In the first part of the dissertation, contractile dynamics of primary cardiomyocyte clusters is studied by culturing them on deformable thin polymeric films. The cell clusters beat and generate sufficient forces to deform the substrates out of plane. Over time, the clusters reorient their force dipoles along the direction of maximum compliance. This suggests that the cells are capable of sensing substrate deformations through a mechanosensitive feedback mechanism and dynamically reorganizing themselves. Results are further validated through finite element analysis. The development, characterization and quantification of a novel 1D/2D like polymeric platform for cell culture is presented in the second part. The platform consists of a 2D surface anchoring a long (few millimeters) narrow filament (1D) with a single cell scale (micro scale) cross section. We plate C2C12 cells on the platform and characterize their migration, proliferation, and differentiation patterns in contrast to 2D culture. We find that the cells land on the 2D surface, and then migrate to the filament only when the 2D surface has become nearly confluent. Individual and isolated cells randomly approaching the filament always retract away towards the 2D surface. Once on the filament, their differentiation to myotubes is expedited compared to that on 2D substrate. The myotubes generate periodic twitching forces that deform the filament producing more than 17 um displacement at the tip. Such flagellar motion can be used to develop autonomous micro scale bio-bots. Finally, the design and fabrication of a polymeric micro-pillar based force sensor capable of measuring cellular focal-adhesion forces under externally applied stretch is discussed. The force sensor consists of arrays of uniformly spaced PDMS micro-pillars of 1-2 um diameter and 2-3 um spacing on a macroscale PDMS substrate. The tips of the micro-pillars are selectively patterned with fluorescently labeled ECM proteins using micro-contact printing to promote cell adhesion while simultaneously acting as markers for strain measurements. Cells adhere and spread on top of the pillars causing them to deform. When stretched, the cells reorganize their internal structure and modulate their traction forces in response to the applied stretch. The dynamically varying cellular forces in response to the stretch are computed by measuring the cell induced displacements estimated by isolating the displacements caused by the applied stretch from the net displacements of the tips.
Issue Date:2015-07-17
Rights Information:Copyright 2015 Sandeep Venkit Anand
Date Available in IDEALS:2015-09-29
Date Deposited:August 201

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