Live-cell study of receptor-ligand binding dynamics using optical tweezers

PhD project Konrad Berghoff

The control and understanding of cell adhesion mechanisms are of interest for tissue engineering and medical diagnostics. In this project we study the interactions between biologically activated particles and live cells using optical tweezers and optical microscopy. We are particularly interested in the dynamic response of the cells on short timescales, studied as a function of the bio-active groups on the surface of the particles. Our first investigations have focused on the interactions between 3T3 fibroblast cells and polystyrene microparticles modified with specific peptides. The studies will be extended to immune cells in order to reveal the timescales and trigger events causing phagocytic cell behavior.

This PhD project is part of the Institute for Complex Molecular Systems (ICMS, see www.icms.tue.nl). We collaborate with the group of prof. Bert Meijer.