Document Type

Student Presentation

Presentation Date



College of Engineering


Department of Mechanical & Biomedical Engineering

Faculty Sponsor

Dr. Paul H. Davis


Atomic force microscopy (AFM) is a nanoscale characterization technique that at its most basic level employs a nanometer-scale probe tip to physically trace a surface, generating a topographical map of the sample. However AFM has many applications beyond topography, including nanomechanical property analysis via cantilevered nanoindentation. In this project, tipless AFM probes functionalized with a 10 µm diameter glass bead have been used to measure the elastic modulus of live multipotent stromal stem cell nuclei before and after vibration treatments and/or structural component knockouts. The goal of these nanoindentation measurements of nuclear stiffness is to gain a better understanding of how mesenchymal stem cells respond to mechanical (in addition to chemical) signals in their environment to guide differentiation into osteoblasts, chondrocytes, or other cell types.