Engineers have developed an array of biomaterials useful for both treating disease and as tools to build physiological models. In native biological systems strain-stiffening is a frequently observed phenomenon at several length scales. At the cellular level, the material behavior and structural arrangement of the extracellular matrix (ECM) lead to a non-linear strain-stiffening response upon cell-induced loading. Although materials with inherent (i.e. not solely structural) stain-stiffening have been fabricated previously, to our knowledge none exist that exhibit non-linear stiffening at biologically-relevant forces under cell-friendly chemistries. We aim to use both bio-inspired and synthetic approaches to engineer strain-stiffening materials at the biological scale to investigate their interactions with living cells.
Funding: $45K (2023)
Goal: Build strain-stiffening biomaterials that are compatible with cell culture and in vivo models to study mechanobiology in a synthetic system.
Token Investors: Aaron Morris, Maria Coronel, and Jon Estrada
Project ID: 1108