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6 CDs in cell mechanics(mechanobiology)

Tian Zhi Luo's picture

There are six distinguished biophysicist in cell mechanics field (their research interests cover much broader areas) and the abbreviations of their first names are either C or D. They are Dr. David Weitz (Harvard U.), Dr. Christopher Chen (U. Penn.), Dr. Dennis Discher (U. Penn.), Dr. Denis Wirtz (JHU), Dr. Douglas Robinson (JHU), and Dr. Daniel Fletcher (U.C. Berkeley). These six scientists use both experimental and theoretical approaches to investigate the biological responses of proteins and cells to mechanical stimuli, such as forces and geometrical constraints. Their research extends from molecular scale to cellular level to tissue level.

Dr. David Weitz made significant contributions to the understanding of mechanical properties of biopolymers, such actin, microtubule, and intermediate filaments. His group performed most of the measurements of the microrheology of actin gel in last two decays. He invented the technique of combining the emulsion method and microfluidic device to synthesize vesicles being used for drug delivery as well as the reconstitution of artificial cells.

Dr. Christopher Chen is mostly known for his innovation of measuring the cell-substrate interaction using micropillars fabricated by soft lithography. He has also made many contributions to nanobiotechnology over the years.

Dr. Dennis Discher is famous for his outstanding contributions to the studies of cell responses (for example, change of gene expression and stem cell differentiation) to substrates with different rigidity. Meanwhile, he is known for his deep understanding of cell mechanics and polymer physics.

Dr. Denis Wirtz made important discovery about how cells sense 3D environment. He has also been active in the fields of cell mechanics, single molecule mechanics, cell division, and microrheology of biopolymer gel.

Dr. Douglas Robinson's research mainly focuses on the dynamics of cell shape changes, especially during cell division. He is known for his work on actin cytoskeleton proteins (for example, the mechanosensitivity of non-muscle myosin II).

Dr. Daniel Fletcher investigates cell motility and the remodeling of actin cytoskeleton. He is famous for using AFM to study the properties of actin network.

These six scientists are the most active leaders in cell mechanics field. Although there are other very productive scientists in this field, their research is either lack of the combination of experimental and theoretical/computational approaches or more limited to just cell level (not multiscaled).

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