Cellular biomechanical phenotyping of degenerate human disc cells

Location of Research: Hybrid (both Remote and On Site)

This project involves measuring cellular biomechanical properties of cells isolated from intervertebral disc tissue of patients with varying degrees of disc degeneration. These properties include cell stiffness, as determined by atomic force microscopy (AFM), cell hydraulic permeability, as determined by an osmotic mixture theory framework of equations, as well as cellular morphology and size measures. Previous studies by the Chahine lab have identified changes in these biomechanical properties due to inflammatory stimulation. The presence of inflammatory cytokines is known to increase with increasing degree of disc degeneration. The hypothesis is that changes in cell biomechanical properties seen with increasing degree of disc degeneration will mimic those changes observed with inflammatory stimulation. This project will seek to characterize cellular biomechanical phenotypes with changing degrees of disc degeneration in human disc cells. As part of this study, summer student will participate in the processing and analysis of AFM and osmotic measurement data using analysis software. Student will also participate in statistical analysis, interpretation, and presentation of collected data. Students able to be on site will be trained in the measurement techniques as well.

Lab: Chahine Lab- part of the Carroll Laboratories for Orthopedic Surgery

Direct Supervisor: Tim Jacobsen

Position Dates: 5/3/2021 - 8/15/2021

Hours per Week: 35

Number of Positions: 1

Credit: Yes

Paid: Yes

Qualifications: Data and image analysis, biomechancis, matlab

Eligibility: Junior, Senior, Master's (SEAS only)