Cells respond to mechanical stimuli, such as stiffness and stretch, in their environment as shown by changes in phenotype, proliferation, and alignment. We have developed the first method to simultaneously apply stiffness and stretch to a cellular environment using the Flexercell stretching device and the stiffness-tuneable hydrogel, polyacrylamide. Functionality and cell viability were verified and measurements of mechanical stimuli were validated. This method will be applied in future research to study heart valve cell mechanobiology in normal and diseased states.
Worcester Polytechnic Institute
Major Qualifying Project
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