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of Biophysics and Soft Matter

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Electrodes enveloped by a cell membrane imaged using an electron microscope.

Interaction of cells with nanostructured surfaces
The interaction of biological cells with nanometer-sized viruses, engineered nanoparticles, and nanostructured surfaces depends on size, shape, and surface functionalisation of the nanostructures. We study experimentally and theoretically the interaction of cells with nanostructures of different sizes and shapes. From a bioelectronics point of view, the aim is to have good contact of 3D nanoelectrodes with neurons and other electrogenic cells and thereby to obtain a high signal-to-noise ratio for measuring electrical activity of the cells. While membrane deformation energy costs hinder engulfment of the electrodes, both specific and non-specific adhesion favour engulfment. Using a theoretical model, we extract the stress exerted by the cytoskeleton during engulfment from membrane profiles observed in electron microscopy images of focused ion-beam cuts of cells adhered to cylindrical and mushroom-shaped nanopillars.

Bioelectronics and Theoretical Soft Matter and Biophysics:
Francesca Santoro, Sabyasachi Dasgupta, Gerhard Gompper, Andreas Offenhäusser

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