Laser Microbeams in the Study of Mechanobiology
Elliot Botvinick, PhD
University of California - Irvine
The Botvinick lab implements laser microbeams to study mechanics in cell signaling and function. During his seminar, he will present three projects.
(1) A biophysical study of Notch signaling. The Notch signaling mechanism is peculiar in that it requires competent endocytosis in the ligand cell. The Botvinick lab uses optical tweezers to argue Notch signaling is dependent on specific endocytic components and the generation of ‘strong’ endocytic forces. Additionally, they have strong evidence that receptor-ligand bond strength is independent of ligand endocytosis and recycling.
(2) Optical Microrheology. The Botvinick lab uses optical microrheology to map ECM mechanical properties surrounding cells cultured in 3-D. They combine this with a shear gradient device to test the role of local stiffness in cell differentiation and function.
(3) Micro-tsunamis. This is a new all-optical tool for the study of mechano transduction. The Botvinick lab uses a single focused laser pulse to excite mechano-signaling in hundreds of cells. Botvinick will demonstrate the utility of micro-tsunamis for the detection of drug-induced changes in cellular mechanotransduction.