Illinois BioNanotechnology Seminar Series Fall 2011: Deconvolving Stiffness in MEMS Pedestal Cell Mass Measurements

By Elise Corbin

Mechanical Science and Engineering, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, IL

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The complex relationships between a cell's behavior and the physical properties of both itself and its environment have long been of interest. Specifically, the understanding the mechanisms through which a cell's physical properties influence cell growth, cell differentiation, cell cycle progression, and apoptosis. The accuracy and versatility of measurement techniques play an integral part in investigating how a cell's physical properties influence its behavior. We developed an improved MEMS resonator sensor that can be used to directly measure the biophysical properties, mass, and growth rate of single adherent cells. However, our measurement technique offers a combination of complex elastic and viscoelastic dynamic properties of cells. Decoupling the relationship between the cell's dynamics and the apparent mass reported by the sensor is of utmost importance. Understanding this relationship will further empower the measurement technique, enabling even more prudent investigations that will benefit efforts in cancer diagnosis and treatment, biological accurate design, cell-to-cell interfacing, and tissue engineering, among others.


Elise Corbin Elise Corbin is originally from the Philadelphia area. She received her B.S. in engineering science at the Pennsylvania State University in 2007. During her undergraduate career she was a research assistant for both the Fuel Cell Dynamics and Diagnostics Lab and the Applied Research Lab, supervised by Dr. Matthew Mench. At the University of Illinois she joined the Nanoscale Thermal Processing Lab directed by Dr. William P. King. She received her M.S. in mechanical engineering in 2009, and her thesis was, "Substrate Dependance, Temperature Dependance, and Temperature Sensitivity and Resolution of Doped-Silicon Microcantilevers." Her research interests include bio-sensing on the nano-scale and together with her co-advisor Dr. Rashid Bashir she will be continuing toward her Ph.D. working on cell mass sensing techniques and devices.



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Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  • Elise Corbin (2011), "Illinois BioNanotechnology Seminar Series Fall 2011: Deconvolving Stiffness in MEMS Pedestal Cell Mass Measurements,"

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1000 MNTL, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, IL


Zuhaib Bashir Sheikh

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign