British Heart Foundation Advanced Training Award Fellowship

Project: Research

Project Details


Building magnetic tweezers to probe bio-mechanical signals in endothelial cells

Layman's description

Atherosclerosis is a disease in which the lining of arteries gradually thickens, causing heart attacks or strokes. It occurs where blood flow changes suddenly, such as at forks where one artery splits into two, but not where blood flow is undisturbed. At present, scientists cannot tell if the disease is caused by changes in the nutrient supply or the different friction, called shear stress; both of which occur in disturbed blood flow. This project aimed to solve this problem by attaching magnetic beads to artery cells and using a magnetic field to apply a force without affecting the nutrient supply. The magnetic force reproduced different shear stresses found in the arteries; both the ‘good’ shear stress found in areas protected from atherosclerosis and the ‘bad’ shear stress from areas where the disease occurs. Studying the biological signals that the cells release will indicate what makes stress ‘good’ or ‘bad.’
Effective start/end date1/07/1331/12/15