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Engineering Biology in Cambridge


To develop a novel piezoelectric platform to probe mechanobiological interactions. This pilot project serves to validate the basic process and has several key objectives. The first goal is to successfully grow a viable cell colony on the piezoelectric matrix. If that can be achieved, then we can determine whether or not the traction forces exerted by the cell culture can be detected and monitored as the culture grows.

The Idea

Piezo cover imageMechanobiology is an emergent field of research concerned with the mechanical interactions between biological systems at a cellular level. It is becoming increasingly evident that the mechanical environment of a cell is crucial in determining its behaviour, and the subsequent long range morphology of multicellular systems. This proposal aims to probe these interactions using a novel piezoelectric platform.

If the mechanisms behind mechanical interactions can be determined, then the possibility exists to manipulate the function of cells by precisely controlling the biophysical forces they experience. The development of a platform that allowed manipulation of biophysical forces independently from the metabolic and signalling pathways engineered inside a cell would be a powerful aid in the development of synthetic biology. 

The Team

Michael Smith
Dr Sohini Kar-Narayan
Dr Chris Forman
Dr Paul Barker


Project Outputs