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MPNS COST Action 1205
Advances in Optofluidics: Integration of Optical Control and Photonics with Microfluidics

European Cooperation in Science and Technology
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Institute of Experimental Physics 1, Soft Matter Physics Division

University of Leipzig, Germany

Project Title:

The Optical Stretcher: Combining microfluidics and photonics to investigate the mechanical properties of suspended cells


The Optical Stretcher, developed in our lab, is a technology to contact-free measure cellular mechanical properties with a through-put of several hundred cells per hour. The aim of our group is to employ dual-beam optical traps to study cellular response under external force, as well as establish new diagnostic approaches from a materials science perspective. To this end, we further combine optical stretching with calcium imaging, as well as fluorescence and confocal laser scanning microscopy. Our approach clearly shows that even without any biomolecular information, the deformation of cells reflects enough information to distinguish different cell types and detect aging effects. Furthermore, three clinical studies on oral, breast and cervix carcinoma clearly show that tumor cells are softer and deform more than normal cells.

Funding sources:

German Science Foundation
Saxonian Bank of Development
Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), Germany

WG2: Optical control in microfluidics

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