Microrheometry of cells, in healthy and pathological situations

F. Rico

The mechanical properties of living cells are crucial for biological function. We apply different methods based on AFM combined with other techniques to probe the mechanics of cells under various constrains and under healthy and pathological conditions. For example, we use PeakForce mechanical mapping and conventional force spectroscopy to determine the mechanical properties of lens cells and cells grown on micropatterns [1]. We have recently adapted HS-AFM to carry out high frequency microrheology on living cells [2]. The high-frequency response of living cancer cells with different levels of invasiveness likely provides a more univocal mechanical fingerprint than the absolute value of the Young’s modulus.

In January 2019, we started a European ITN Marie S Curie Action project @Phys2BioMed. Our long-term goal is to bring nano-mecanical tests to the clinic though research based training of 15 PhD students.

[1] A. Rigato, F. Rico, F. Eghiaian, M. Piel, and S. Scheuring, ACS Nano 9, 5846 (2015)
[2] A. Rigato, A. Miyagi, S. Scheuring, and F. Rico, Nat Phys 13, 771 (2017)


The Phys2BioMed project has received funding from Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme (Grant Agreement 812772 – Marie Curie  – H2020-MSCA- ITN-2018).