The potential of MEMS for advancing experiments and modeling in cell mechanics

O. Loh, A. Vaziri, H. D. Espinosa*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

59 Scopus citations


Response to mechanical stimuli largely dictates cellular form and function. A host of extraordinary yet unexplained responses have been identified within the hierarchical cell structure. As experimental and model-based investigations in cell mechanics advance, the underlying structure-function mechanisms dictating these responses emerge. Here we explore the potential of microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) for advancing understanding of cell mechanics. To motivate the discussion, existing experimental techniques are summarized. Interrelated model-based approaches, which aim to interpret or predict observed results, are also outlined. We then focus on a representative set of MEMS-based devices designed for investigations in cell mechanics and point to the fact that, while these devices have yet to maximize their functionality through higher levels of sensor/actuator integration, they are highly complementary to existing techniques. In closing, novel MEMS sensor and actuator schemes that have yet to materialize in this field are discussed to motivate the next generation of MEMS for investigations in cell mechanics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)105-124
Number of pages20
JournalExperimental Mechanics
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Biomechanics
  • Cell adhesion
  • Cell mechanics
  • MEMS
  • Modeling

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aerospace Engineering
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering


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