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Brian Helmke - Cell mechanobiology

Science & Engineering
Biomedical Engineering
Supervising Faculty Member: 
Brian Helmke
Research Focus: 

How do living cells adapt to mechanical forces in the body? For cells lining the gut wall, adaptation to periodic mechanical stretching may enhance resistance to invasion by microorganisms. This project will use a device to stretch cells in culture and examine their structural adaptation and resistance to Toxoplasma gondii invasion.

Position Description: 

(1) Grow cells in culture. (2) Program a motor to achieve stretching of cells in culture. (3) Acquire time lapse video microscopy videos of cells during and after stretch. (4) Analyze images of cells in videos to detect cytoskeleton adaptations.

Required Skills: 

Basic chemistry lab skills are helpful, including preparing solutions and pipetting.

Bloodborne Pathogens safety training is required before work can begin.
What will you learn: 

(1) To design an experiment that will test a hypothesis. (2) To analyze data from an experiment and reach a conclusion about the hypothesis. (3) To describe common mechanical adaptations of cells to their environment.

Cell mechanobiology