Vol. 2, No. 6, 2007

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Continuum-based computational models for cell and nuclear mechanics

Ashkan Vaziri, Arvind Gopinath and Vikram S. Deshpande

Vol. 2 (2007), No. 6, 1169–1191

Deciphering the relationship between cellular processes and the structure of living cells is a key step toward understanding and predicting cell functions with direct implications for understanding human health and disease. The active nature of these cellular processes, which span several decades of spatial and temporal scales, pose significant challenges to unraveling this complex structure-function paradigm. Complementing novel experimental techniques with robust computational approaches capable of modeling mechanical response at varying scales provides new avenues to resolving this paradigm. We provide an overview of continuum-based computational approaches used in studying and interpreting responses of individual cells and nuclei, we outline techniques used for measuring the mechanical characteristics of living cells, and we discuss some of the key insights provided by these approaches.

cell mechanics, nuclear mechanics, computational mechanics
Received: 16 February 2007
Accepted: 24 February 2007
Published: 1 August 2007
Ashkan Vaziri
Division of Engineering and Applied Sciences
Harvard University
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States
Arvind Gopinath
Division of Engineering and Applied Sciences
Harvard University
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States
Vikram S. Deshpande
Engineering Department
Cambridge University
Trumpington Street
Cambridge, CB2 1PZ
United Kingdom