Date

2014

Document Type

Thesis

Degree

Master of Science

Department

Mechanical Engineering

First Adviser

Voloshin, Arkady

Abstract

Mechanical behavior of cells plays a crucial role in response to external stimuli and environment. It is very important to elucidate the mechanisms of cellular activities like spreading and alignment as it would shed light on further biological concepts. A multi-scale computational approach is adopted by modeling the cytoskeleton of cell as a tensegrity structure. The model is based on the complementary force balance between the tension and compression elements, resembling the internal structure of cell cytoskeleton composed of microtubules and actin filaments. The effect of surface topology on strain energy of a spread cell is investigated by defining strain energy of the structure as the main criterion in the simulation process of the cell spreading. Spreading as a way to decrease internal energy toward a minimum energy state is the main hypothesis that is investigated. The cell model is placed at different positions along the wavy surface and the spreading and alignment behavior is observed. The implementation of the model illustrates the effect of topological factors on spreading and alignment of the cell. The proposed computational model can be explanatory in terms of understanding mechanical characteristics of cells.

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