Lisa M. Pakstis, Joy P. Dunkers

Biomaterials Group, Polymers Division, MSEL, NIST


Mechanotransduction is the process by which cells convert mechanical stimuli into a biological response that directs their proliferation, differentiation, gene expression, migration, etc.  Understanding this response is important in order to mimic the physiological environment of cells and tissues and increase the success of tissue engineered medical products (TEMPS) by controlling in vivo cellular response.  Initial efforts to quantify and predict biological responses at the cellular level were performed in static culture.  In these experiments, hydrophobic silicone membranes were coated with the extracellular matrix protein fibronectin via multiple methods and characterized by optical interferometry, immunohistochemical staining, and Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy to determine protein uniformity, roughness, quantity, and conformation on the surface.  Surface characterization is necessary to determine the cellular response at the cell-biomaterial interface.  These methods of surface modification directly affected the biological response of smooth muscle cells (SMC).  A higher quantity of ECM protein, as measured immunohistochemically, was observed for surfaces initially treated with an amine-terminated silane.  Subsequently, silane modified surfaces had greater cell attachment and proliferation as compared to control surfaces (TCPS) and surfaces with physically absorbed fibronectin.  Real Time Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR) and cell morphology confirmed that SMC exhibited a synthetic phenotype on surfaces modified with fibronectin.  This method for surface modification is uniformly effective, improving cellular proliferation for other extracellular matrix proteins including laminin and collagen.


Name:             Lisa M. Pakstis

Mentor:          Joy P. Dunkers

Division:         Polymers Division (854)

Laboratory:     Materials Science and Engineering Laboratory (MSEL)

Location:         Room B106, Bldg 224, MS 8543

Phone:             (301) 975-5520

Fax:                 (301) 975-4977


Sigma Xi:         Not a member

Category:         Biology