The LS-AFM from AFMWorkshop is making its impact on the research community all over the world. In this newsletter we outline some of the work that’s being done with the LS-AFM, including a sneak peek into some upcoming publications.

Used in life science applications when an inverted optical microscope is needed, the LS-AFM is capable of high resolution scanning in both liquid and ambient air environments, as well as advanced force distance measurements. With a scanning resolution below 200 picometers, the LS-AFM is fully capable of meeting your life science application needs.

To learn more about what the LS-AFM can do for you, click here.

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Georgia Tech

At Georgia Tech, Shane Jacobeen and researchers recently published in Nature Physics “Cellular packing, mechanical stress and the evolution of multicellularity”, with the help of data gained from the use of the LS-AFM. Their question regards how clusters of cells evolve increased size while confronted by forces capable of breaking their intracellular bonds.

Using the LS-AFM to measure force/distance curves, the team was able to pinpoint the exact applied force at the point of cluster fracture (Fig 1.) due to crowding-induced mechanical stress. The cells within the clusters became more elongated, freeing up space and reducing the internal stress caused by cellular growth, delaying cluster fracture and increasing cluster size.

 

Life Science Atomic Force Microscope force–displacement scan of an individual cluster

Fig 1. Sample AFM force–displacement scan of an individual cluster. The sharp reduction in force (arrow) is indicative of a fracturing event.

 

Furthermore, they present a model which highlights the role that changing material properties play during major evolutionary transitions. The model shows how simple cell-level changes can guide the emergence of novel collective-level traits, showing us the intertwined nature of biology and physics.

Jacobeen, Shane, et al. "Cellular packing, mechanical stress and the evolution of multicellularity." Nature Physics 14.3 (2018): 286.

 

Clemson, Imperial College London, and Harefield Hospital

In her dissertation work at Clemson, Aesha Yogesh Desai and researchers utilized an LS-AFM from AFMWorkshop to better understand cellular mechanics across length scales for the development of computational models.

AFMWorkshop developed unique AFM allowing placing two carbon fiber probes on either side of an AFM tip. This allowed the stretching of cardiomyocytes while measuring mechanical properties of the cardiomyocyte. The cardiomyocytes maintained in liquid environment at physiological conditions in a custom environmental cell.

 

Atomic Force Microscope Light Lever Open Atomic Force Microscope Light Lever Closed

These photographs show the frontal access light lever developed for this research project. Two carbon fiber probes may be used to probe cells while simultaneously making AFM measurements. Additionally this light lever was used for making simultaneous patch clamp and AFM measurements. Left: Closed. Right: Open.

 

By combining AFM and carbon fiber (CF) techniques, they were able to characterize the mechanics and active and passive forces acting on an isolated cardiomyocyte simultaneously. These results reveal the effects of the cellular microenvironment on cell mechanics.

Cell biology and medicine industries are particularly interested in the use of AFM to monitor changes in cell elasticity under different pharmacological and genetic perturbation. In collaboration with the Imperial College London, the Cardiac Biophysics and Systems Biology Group are preparing to submit a paper regarding this work for publication.

Led by researchers Dr. Peter Kohl, Dr. Remi Peyronnet, Dr. Delphine Dean, and Dr. Sujal Desai, this paper will present much of the work these researchers have done with the LS-AFM from AFMWorkshop.

Desai, Aesha Yogesh. Manipulating cardiovascular cellular interactions and mechanics: A multidimensional and multimodal approach. Diss. Clemson University, 2016.

 

New York University Abu Dhabi

Researchers Dr. Qasaimeh and Dr. Deliorman at the New York University Abu Dhabi are undertaking research into the capture and AFM analysis of clinical cancer cells. Their AFM analysis is being made on the LS-AFM purchased from the AFMWorkshop in 2017.

Dr. Deliorman designed a custom motorized stage for the LS-AFM and is incorporating a heated sample cell. Preliminary results from their research are promising and they expect to publish this work in the near future.

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