GSBS Student Publications


Microscopic methods for measuring the elasticity of gel substrates for cell culture: microspheres, microindenters, and atomic force microscopy

GSBS Program

Biochemistry & Molecular Pharmacology

UMMS Affiliation

Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences; Department of Physiology



Document Type


Medical Subject Headings

Cell Culture Techniques; Elasticity; Gels; Gravitation; Microscopy, Atomic Force; *Microspheres


Life Sciences | Medicine and Health Sciences


In conjunction with surface chemistry, the mechanical properties of cell culture substrates provide important biological cues that affect cell behavior including growth, differentiation, spreading, and migration. The phenomenon has led to the increased use of biological and synthetic polymer-based flexible substrates in cell culture studies. However, widely used methods for measuring the Young's modulus have proven difficult in the characterization of these materials, as they tend to be relatively thin, soft, hydrated, and tethered to glass substrates. Here we describe three methods that have been applied successfully to probe the flexibility of soft culture substrates.

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Citation: Methods Cell Biol. 2007;83:47-65. Link to article on publisher's site

Related Resources

Link to article in PubMed

PubMed ID