Supervisor: Jan Přibyl

Annotation: Using new AFM modules for the study of cell mechanics and electrophysiology

Our laboratory has long been involved in the use of AFM microscopy in the study of cellular and molecular structure and mechanics. We are now equipped with new modules (FluidFM, MEA) for further operations with cells and acquisition of additional parameters (adhesiveness, cell potential).

These methods are described below, the student’s goal would be to characterize biomechanical properties of various cells, such as cardiomyocytes. However, also adhesivity of epithelial cells to the new types of implant materials. Combined characterization of mechano-electrical feedback of electrically active cells may bring a new insight into the diseases, such as CPVT.

FluidFM, micro-fluidic force microscopy, is a relatively new (2009) and very interesting application of atomic force microscopy (AFM) based on a microchannel inside the tip and probe for localized injection or aspiration of very small volumes of fluids.

It is very well suited for work with living cells – pico-injection into cells, isolation of molecules or organelles from single cells, study of cell adhesion, etc.

Microelectrode array (MEA) is an electrophysiological method using a region with tens to hundreds of small electrodes (electrode size is on the order of tens of μm in a region of the order of units of millimetres) to monitor the cell potential of cardiac and nerve cells. The main use is to test new drugs, but also to describe cellular processes in electrically active cells.

Recommended literature:

  • Journal of Electron Microscopy, Volume 49, Issue 3, 2000, Pages 395–406
  • Nano Lett. 2009, 9, 6, 2501–2507
  • Adv. Mater. Interfaces 2020, 7, 2001115
  • Anal Bioanal Chem. 2011 Mar;399(7):2313-29.
  • PLoS ONE 8(9): e73637.

Requirements on candidates:

A degree in biophysics, biochemistry, cell and molecular biology. Previous experience with the techniques is welcome but not a required.

More information on CEITEC PhD School website: https://ls-phd.ceitec.cz/ and Research Group website: https://www.ceitec.eu/nanobiotechnology-core-facility/cf104

In case you are interested. ​Please, submit your CV and motivation letter via Registration Form.

Listen to the experiences of our PhD students: