Nanomechanical characterisation of polymer nanotubes for application as 'soft' mechanical interfaces for biology

Conference Dates

October 2 – 7, 2022


Biological systems are responsive not only to chemical changes, but also to changes in their mechanical environment. This 'mechanobiology' is believed to be involved in the regulation of important cell functions, including stem cell differentiation. Understanding and being able to control the mechanical cues is important for directing tissue behaviour in the field of regenerative medicine and tissue engineering. A major issue for the field remains that the stiffness of biological tissue is often many orders of magnitude lower than that of the surfaces on which cell or tissue based experiments are typically performed; furthermore, creating biocompatible surfaces with appropriate and tuneable mechanical properties is challenging. In this talk, I will discuss how biocompatible poly-l-lactic acid (PLLA) nanotubes grown by template wetting can provide a suitably ‘soft’ surface for cell culture. Importantly, the effective stiffness of the nanostructured surface is dependent on the crystallinity and aspect ratio of the nanotubes, which can be controlled through appropriate heat treatment during the fabrication process.

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