|We aim at developing a nanomechanical tool-box for the investigation of cell mechanics. We aim at demonstrating the potential of the set of tools for the study of individual cell mechanics and sub-cellular structures. In the past decade, many cell mechanisms have been disentangled. These findings have highlighted the communication of cells in two directions, environment influence on mechanical properties of cells and their influence in the cell biochemical response and therefore cell function. Also, recent findings have clarified the role of cell mechanical properties in complex cellular processes. These advancements have attracted great attention to the research in cell mechanics, as they are opening up new routes for disease diagnosis and treatment.
This line, and the NANOFORCELLS project at its core, aim at developing new tools and mechanical and physical assays to extract the elastic and viscoelastic properties of cancer cells as compared to healthy cells, providing with mechanical biomarkers for diagnosis. Also, the effect of cancer drugs and drug vehicles on cell mechanics will provide the cues to study drug efficacy and establish biophysical prognosis routes. This project sets an innovative approach combining advanced nanomechanical systems together with optical interferometry and AFM local characterization for the study of cell mechanics.