Function and Soft Mechanics of Biomaterials Group leader: Cornelis (Kees) Storm

Welcome! We're working to understand the stuff that we are all made of: soft biological matter. Stuff like proteins, polymers, membranes, fibrous networks and, ultimately, tissues. We're interested in their structure, how they self-assemble, how they deform, how they fail, how they generate forces, how they sense their surroundings and finally, how we may learn from Nature and mimick their design and properties.

In biological materials, these issues generally span multiple scales - both spatial and temporal. We try to cover the essential physics at each of these scales, with particular attention to tying them together into a single, coherent multiscale scheme. Topics in the group run the range from protein polymers all the way to tissue-scale finite element studies.

Adi's not-so-normal stresses in polymer materials

Adrian's paper on negative normal stresses in polymer materials was accepted for Phys. Rev. E. In it, he investigates the elastic and geometric origins of this curious but potentially very powerful nonlinear response: the tendency of stiff polymer networks to generate anomalously large stresses in the direction normal to the applied strain. In addition to developing the general theory of the effect, we may now try to control it in real materials.

Congratulations, Adi!

Normal stresses in elastic networks. A.R. Cioroianu and C. Storm, Phys. Rev. E (accepted for publication)

Liza makes the cover

Liza Novikova's paper Contractile fibers and catch bond clusters: a biological force sensor? was published in Biophysical Journal. The work, which outlines a theoretical model for the force- and rigidity dependent binding of integrins, sheds new light on how cells perceive the world, and how they may respond to it. The paper was designated New and Notable, and is accompanied by a companion piece by Prof. Ulrich Schwarz from Heidelberg, and the artwork we prepared in collaboration with the ICMS animation studio appeared on the cover.

Congratulations Liza!

More information in the press release:
Cell measures stiffness of its environment using special protein bonds

The paper itself:
'Contractile fibers and catch bond clusters: a biological force sensor?' 
E.A. Novikova and C. Storm, Biophysical Journal 105 (6) 1336-1345, 2013.

The New and Notable piece:
'Catch me because you can: A mathematical model for mechanosensing'
Ulrich S. Schwarz, Biophysical Journal 105 (6) 1289-1291, 2013.

Liza's Biophysical Society blog entry about the cover image:
'Cooking up a mechanosensing model'

Biomechanics and Diagnostics

We're very proud that our research interests are now firmly embedded in the bachelor curriculum in the form of the coherent package of electives "Biomechanics and Diagnostics" available to all Bachelor's students. Read more about it (in Dutch) here: Coherent Keuzepakket Biomechanica en Diagnostiek.

FOM Programme on Designer Polymeric Materials granted

Together with our partners at other universities and industry, we'll be working on the bottom up design and development of novel functional polymeric materials. Read more about this programme here.

Collagen: The Fabric of Life on YouTube

The ICMS animation studio helped us prepare a short movie meant to convey the meaning of multiscale mechanics. Collagen is the most abundant structural protein in mammals, and in a very real sense it's what we're made of. What does that mean? Click the link below (or here if your browser doesn't support flash) and find out!

Group Members

Remy Kusters
PhD Student

Adi Cioroianu
PhD Student

Cyril Vrusch
M.Sc. Student

Ruben Larue
M.Sc. Student

Ewa Spiesz

Matthew Dennison

Liza Novikova
PhD Student

Mathijs Vermeulen
MSc Student

Hamed Mortazavi
PhD Student

Koen Schakenraad
MSc Student

Kees Storm
Associate Professor
Google Scholar Profile

Christian Moerland
MSc Student

Former Group Members

Where are they now?

Dr. Francisco Fontenele Araujo jr. (PD 2013) - PostDoc at RWTH Aachen
Dr. Wouter Ellenbroek (PD 2013) - Assistant Professor at Eindhoven University of Tech

Dr. Timon Idema (PhD 2009) - Assistant Professor at Delft University of Tech
Dr. Stefan Semrau (PhD 2009) - van Oudenaarden Lab, M.I.T.
Dr. Liesbeth Huisman (PhD 2011) - Consultant at McKinsey & Company
Dr. Henry Amuasi (PhD 2012) - PostDoc with Vink/Zippelius in Göttingen

Jonathan de Vries, MSc (MSc, 2010) - PhD at Delft University of Technology
Bart van Lith, MSc (MSc, 2013) - PhD at Eindhoven University of Technology

Li'ao Wang MSc (BSc, 2011) - Associate consultant at Bain & Company
Thijs van der Heijden BSc (BSc, 2013) - MSc at Eindhoven University of Tech

Collaborations and Consortia

We're a part of several collaborative efforts and consortia. Here are some of our friends and coworkers elsewher

- FOM programme "Marginal Soft Matter"

- The Institute for Complex Molecular Systems at TU/e, Eindhoven

- FOM/DPI/TIFN Industrial Partnership Programme "Bio-Related Materials"

- FOM Programme "Mechanosensing and Mechanotransduction by Cells"

- Koenderink "Biological Soft Matter" group at AMOLF, Amsterdam

- Schmidt "Physics of Life Processes" group in Leiden

- Wyss "Soft Materials" group at TU/e, Eindhoven

- Sijbesma "Supramolecular Polymer Chemistry" group at TU/e, Eindhoven

SoftComp EU Network of Excellence.