The Effects of Polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) Modification on Cell Biomechanics and Morphology

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Anhong Zhou


It has been shown that the growth of cells is dependent on the mechanical signals that the cells receive from substrates. Cells are influenced by both the stiffness and spatial patterning of substrates. The stiffness and spatial patterning of substrates has also been shown to alter the proliferation, differentiation and migration of cells. It has not yet been determined how these substrate changes alter the biomechanics and morphology of the cells. It is my aim to alter the PDMS stiffness and spatial patterning by altering the cross-linker density of PDMS as well adding micro-pillar structures to the PDMS. This is advantageous for studies in microfluidic chambers because there is limited control over the cells once they are in the chamber. By making changes to the substrate cellular conditions within the chambers can be tuned. I have grown cells in microfluidic chambers without substrate changes and visualized the cells via Fluorescence Microscopy. In the future, it is my aim to next grow cells on altered substrates. After the cells grow on the PDMS the biomechanics changes can be measured via Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM). The morphology changes can be determined qualitatively through Fluorescence and Confocal Microscopy as well as quantitatively with ImageJ software. After these characteristics are studied this knowledge can be applied to cell culture in microfluidic chambers.

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