Cell adhesion and spreading on the extracellular matrix (ECM) protein layer are essential to many physiological and pathological processes. The cell adhesion development and spreading is mediated by the interaction of cell receptors and ECM ligands. Receptors diffuse along the cell membrane surface and interact with ligands in ECM to form bonds. Cells spread and the adhesion zone grows as bond formation at the adhesion front increases to a critical level. This process involves coupling of reaction-diffusion and mechanical contact between cells and ECM. In this study, the influence of ECM microtexture and stiffness, glycocalyx layer (present at cell surface), mass action kinetics, as well as ligand mobility and stochastics on the cell adhesion development will be addressed. The study is significant for in-situ binding measurement of proteins, and also facilitate rational design and fabrication of cellular environment with defined biophysical and biochemical properties. This interdisciplinary research program requires the Associate to have a background in biomechanics, biophysics, biochemistry, and an interest in numerical modeling.
Biophysics and biochemistry; Cell migration; Cell morphology; Cell signaling; Mechanotransduction;