Mechanical Characterization of Biological Cells

Mechanical Characterization of Biological Cells

Mechanical Characterization of Biological Cells

Mechanical sensing and transduction of cells are closely related to many diseases, such as cardiovascular disease and cancer. CD BioSciences is committed to applying a variety of biophysical analysis technologies to help clients characterize the mechanical properties of cells and study the perception, conversion and response of cells to mechanical signals, which is the key to understanding the development of these diseases.


The study of the mechanics or force spectroscopy of living cells in their physiological environment is necessary to understand many biological health problems such as malaria, cancer, etc. Mechanobiology emerges at the crossroads of biology, physics, medicine, and engineering, focusing on how physical forces and mechanical properties of proteins, protein assemblies, cells and tissues contribute to signaling, development, cell division, differentiation and sorting, physiology and disease. The development of effective technological platforms to quantify the perception, conversion, response and use of mechanical signals in living systems is a major challenge in mechanobiology.

Rapid advances in biophysical analysis techniques have made it possible to morphologically and mechanically characterize living systems. Over the past three decades, atomic force microscopy (AFM) has become a key platform for characterizing the inter- and intramolecular interactions of molecular systems and their mechanical properties, including reversible and irreversible deformation, friction, energy dissipation, tension and pressure. For the functional state and response of complex biological systems, scientists need to develop new AFM-based assays or combine multiple complementary techniques to characterize the cell mechanical properties at multiple time scales and length scales, thus confronting and addressing pressing questions in mechanobiology.

Fig.1 The mechanical properties of the cellular structures and compartments of an adherent mammalian cell. (Krieg, 2017)Fig.1 The mechanical properties of the cellular structures and compartments of an adherent mammalian cell. (Krieg, 2017)

Our Services

In order to provide our clients with cell-level mechanical biology research, we have established a variety of biophysical methods to quantify the global and local mechanical properties of living cells. Our technologies allow exerting precise mechanical loading of cells while measuring their feedback. Our services include but are not limited to:

  • Measurement of cell traction forces.
  • Measurement of cell-derived forces.
  • Measurement of mechanical properties, including deformation, tension, compression, friction, and energy dissipation in various biomolecular systems.
  • Monitoring the morphological changes of cells during indentation.
  • Imaging of force responses in living cells.
  • Analysis of cell elasticity and viscoelasticity.
  • Quantification of structural and biochemical changes in cells, indicating the response of living cells to force.
  • Characterization of stiffness of membrane blebs formed by motile cells.
  • Development of biomechanical models, such as liquid and cortex models, poroelastic models, actomyosin cortex models, and diffusion models.

Our Technology Platform

We provide combinations of complementary techniques to quantitatively analyze the mechanical properties of the cellular microenvironment.

  • Atomic force microscopy (AFM)
  • Confocal fluorescence microscope
  • Magnetic resonance imaging
  • Scanning near-field optical microscopy
  • Infrared spectroscopy
  • Ultrasonic imaging
  • Microbead-based traction force microscopy (TFM)
  • Micropillar-based TFM
  • Magnetic tweezers (MTs)
  • Optical tweezers (OTs)
  • Molecular force probes (MFPs)
  • Micropipette aspiration


  • Interpretation of drug effects
  • Identification of cell surface receptors expression
  • Identification of the mechano-chemical signaling pathways
  • Diagnosis of cancer

With a first-class biophysical technology platform, CD BioSciences has the strength to provide clients with detailed and comprehensive mechanical performance characterization services of biological cells. Our professional scientific team will provide key information for your research on the molecular mechanisms of cellular mechanotransduction. If you are interested in our services, please contact us for more details.


  1. Krieg, M.; et al. Atomic force microscopy-based mechanobiology. Nature Reviews Physics. 2019, 1(1): 41-57.
For research use only, not intended for any clinical use.
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CD BioSciences is a biotechnology company focused on biophysical services. We are proficient in both chemistry and biophysics, and have a comprehensive biophysical platform containing a wide range of advanced technologies.

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