Research Tools and Methodologies for Mechanobiology.
David A Lee
Institute of Bioengineering, School of Engineering & Materials Science, Queen Mary University of London, London E1 4NS
Mechanobiology is defined as the study of mechanisms by which cells detect and respond to mechanical stimuli. These processes are critical to the maintenance of many load-bearing tissue and may also play a role the developmental and disease process. Further, the application of physical stimuli is used to support the development of functional neo-tissue in cell-based therapeutic repair strategies. Mechanobiology studies are complex and inherently multidisciplinary and the availability of appropriate research tools and methodologies has limited scientific progress. This workshop will focus on the challenges faced by mechanobiologists in developing model systems and analytical techniques suitable for their studies. In particular the development of 3-D culture systems and associated bioreactor systems for application of mechanical perturbation will be described. A range of analytical techniques that are used to determine mechanical behaviour and strain transfer through hierarchical tissue and cellular levels are presented. Finally the workshop will describe methodologies that permit elucidation of a biological response following the application of mechanical stimuli, with particular reference to live cell imaging techniques.