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Mechanics and Thermodynamics of Biological systems

Mechanical forces are crucial for the behavior of biological systems. For example, cells continuously apply forces to the extracellular matrix and at the same time receive external mechanical stimuli. In our group we investigate rheological properties of living cells exploiting different biophysical techniques such as Micropipette Aspiration and Atomic Force Microscopy. We focus on the effect of potential drugs on the cytoskeletal organization of cells and on their migration properties. We also expose living cells to cyclic mechanical stretching and study the effect of periodic stimulation on the differentiation of stem cells that are physiologically subjected to a cyclic uniaxial or isotropic stretching.

The biological membrane separates the internal region of a cell from the external environment. Its mechanical and thermodynamic properties affect its biological functions. Many drugs and exogenous molecules in general, in addition to interacting with specific protein targets, can interact with the membrane and modify its mechanical or thermodynamic phase properties. In our group we use by Atomic Force Microscopy and Fluorescence Microscopy to study lipid bilayer model systems such as Supported Lipid Bilayers and Giant Unilamellar Vesicles and their interaction with potential anti-bacterial drugs such as antimicrobial- and lipo-peptides.

Image adapted from Journal of Colloid and Interface Science 553, 247 (2019).

 

People: Prof. A. Alessandrini

[Ultimo aggiornamento: 03/02/2021 13:55:52]