B.E. Mechanical Engineering, NUI Galway (2010)
- Mechanical modelling of cells.
- Parsing the contribution of the actin cytoskeleton to mechanical stimuli.
- Understanding the mechanical behavior of cells on 2D substrates and in 3D gels.
Synopsis of Research
My project entails designing and implementing novel in vitro experimental methodologies and state-of-the-art computational techniques to investigate the contribution of the actin cytoskeleton in the mechanical behaviour of cells. The key focus of my research is the stress fibre response of fibrillose cell phenotypes undergoing static and dynamic mechanical loading regimes.
To do this I designed and implemented two novel experimental systems that required precise micro-manipulation, specialized visualisation/microscopy, and accurate force measurement. These systems are used to investigate the mechanical response of individual and collagen embedded cells during mechanical loading.
Experimental results from these systems, and another modified AFM system, are used in the development of an active bio-chemo-mechanical framework for stress fibre signal dependent formation, tension dependent dissociation, and strain-rate-history dependent contractility. In finite element simulations we demonstrate that accurate predictions of the mechanical response are obtained only when the fundamental mechanics underlying stress fibre behaviour are included in the model.
Awards and Honours
- On the role of the actin cytoskeleton and nucleus in the biomechanical response of spread cells, Reynolds, N. H., Ronan, W., Dowling, E. P., Owens, P., McMeeking, R. M., McGarry, J. P., Biomaterials, 35(13):4015-4025, 2014. (DOI)(Video Summary)
- Single cell active force generation under dynamic loading – Part I: AFM Experiments, Weafer, P. P., Reynolds, N. H., Jarvis, S. P., McGarry, J. P., Acta Biomaterialia, 27:236-250, 2015. (DOI)
- Single cell active force generation under dynamic loading – Part II: Active modelling insights, Reynolds, N. H., McGarry, J. P., Acta Biomaterialia, 27:251-263, 2015. (DOI)
Tel: 091 49 3130