Laboratory for Cell Mechanics and Tissue Engineering

Laboratory for Cell Mechanics and Tissue Engineering
Marcel Wijlaar
Eindhoven University of Technology
Den Dolech 2
M.W. Wijlaars
Confocal microscopy (conventional, 30 fps high speed, multi photon, FLIM, FCS)

Optical Trap (experimental setup)

Fluorescence microscopy

live cell imaging (incubator, experimental setups, micro fluidics)

mechanical testing of cultured tissue (indentation, rheology)

Biomechanics and Tissue EngineeringLiving tissues show an intriguing, active response to mechanical loading. Not only is the intrinsic mechanical response complicated, the ability of living tissues to adapt to mechanical loading by changing their structure and composition is fascinating. For example, tissue proliferation and differentiation is significantly affected by mechanical loading. A quantitative understanding of these phenomena, through experimentation and numerical modeling, is of crucial importance for many biomedical applications.

Cell Mechanics

Cell mechanics deals with the description and evaluation of mechanical properties of cells and cellular structures, as well as the mechanical interactions between cells and their environment. These properties and interactions control the shape, proliferation and motility of cells and thus the generation and maintenance of cell and tissue architecture. Alterations in the mechanical properties or interactions may cause changes in cell and tissue architecture, eventually leading to functional adaptation or pathological conditions.

We investigate the effects of mechanical loading on cells originating from (cardiac) muscle tissue and blood vessels using experimental techniques and numerical modeling. The results are used to discover the causes of mechanically induced pathological conditions (such as pressure sores) or the consequences of changes in mechanical properties or loading conditions for cellular behavior (as seen in tissue remodeling). Our experimental work is particularly challenging due to the small dimensions and the active response of living cells and tissues. We have designed specific loading devices and measurement techniques that can be combined with microscopic observations. The experimental work is performed in the Laboratory for Cell Mechanics. We develop numerical models aimed at describing and predicting the behavior of single cells and groups of cells in interaction with the extracellular matrix.

(Info: Prof. Frank Baaijens, Prof. Luc Snoeckx, Dr. Carlijn Bouten)

Tissue Mechanics

The objective is to study the mechanical behavior of healthy and pathogenic biological tissues like skin, muscle, cardiovascular tissues and joints. We focus on changes of the mechanical properties, caused by adaptation, aging or damage. Incentives for the research can be clinical problems like decubitus, but also problems related to personal care and aging (skin care).

We investigate biological tissues by a combination of experiments and theoretical models. Experimental work includes in-vitro and in-vivo animal studies, studies with cultured cells of tissues (see cell mechanics) and non-invasive tests with human volunteers. Multiphase continuum models and non-linear time-dependent material behavior are central topics in theoretical modeling.

(Info: Prof. Frank Baaijens, Prof. Dan Bader, Dr. Cees Oomens, Dr. Jacques Huyghe)

Tissue Engineering

Tissue engineering is a rapidly evolving interdisciplinary research area aiming at the replacement or restoration of diseased or damaged tissue. In many cases devices made of artificial materials are only capable of partially restoring the original function of native tissues, and may not last for the full lifetime of a patient. Moreover, there is no artificial replacement for a large number of tissues and organs.

We focus our research on the synthesis of load-bearing tissues in the cardiovascular system, in particular heart-valves, small diameter blood vessels and vascular interconnects, and the intervertebral disc. New, autologous tissues are grown outside the human body by seeding cultured cells on scaffold and further developed in a bioreactor for later implantation. The tissue proliferation and differentiation process is strongly affected by mechanical stimuli. Hence, appropriate loads must be applied during the growth process.

We design and synthesize various, so-called enabling technologies, such as instrumented, intelligent bioreactors, new scaffold materials and mechanical and functional testing procedures. Moreover, to understand and optimize functional tissue growth we investigate novel numerical methods to simulate fluid-structure interaction in heart-valves, and tissue proliferation and differentiation.

(Info: Prof. Frank Baaijens, Dr. Carlijn Bouten)

will include this later
Zeiss KF2 student microscope (20x)

Zeiss axiover 200M Fluorescence microscope

Zeiss Observer Z1 Fluorescence Microscope

Nicon Fluorescence microscope

Zeiss Axiovert 100 with Optical trap (Milenia IR 10W@1064nm,home build)

Zeiss LSM 510 (axiovert 100M)

Zeiss LSM 510 NLO/META (axiovert 200M, Coherent Cameleon)

Leica SP5 X with NLO, FLIM, FCS (Coherent Cameleon)

Zeiss/Yokogawa/Andor Spinning disc confocal (30fps at 1M pixels, axiovert 200)