1st Edition

Molecular and Cellular Biomechanics

Edited By Bradley Layton Copyright 2015
    232 Pages 16 Color & 26 B/W Illustrations
    by Jenny Stanford Publishing

    This book bridges the gap between life sciences and physical sciences by providing several perspectives on cellular and molecular mechanics on a fundamental level. It begins with a general introduction to the scales and terms that are used in the field of cellular and molecular biomechanics and then moves from the molecular scale to the tissue scale. It discusses various tissues or cellular systems through the chapters written by prominent engineers and physicists working in various fields of biomechanics.

    "Big picture" items, such as the number of atoms in cells and the number of cells in an organism, are discussed, followed by several of the physical laws that play a central role in nanoscale biomechanics, including the mechanics of the nucleus and its associated molecules. The book provides several case studies in atomic force microscopy and examines the physical relationship between living cells and laboratory substrata. It delves deeply into the molecular mechanisms of axonal growth, transport, and repair and provides a mechanistic framework for understanding the underlying molecular conditions that contribute to heart disease. While the quantitative and straightforward language of the book will help the engineering community grasp the concepts better and utilize them effectively, the questions given in each chapter will encourage upper-level undergraduate students, graduate students, or those generally interested in understanding cellular and molecular mechanics to dig deeper into the material. The complimentary solutions manual is available for qualified instructors upon request.


    Brief overview of numbers and scales

    History of cell mechanics

    Outline of the book


    Mechanics of Single Molecules and Single Proteins

    Macromolecules, small molecules, and machines: How are they alike? How do they differ?

    Thermal energy, equipartition, and the Boltzmann distribution

    Thermal ratchets: what are they? A practical definition

    Detailed balance

    Entropy and enthalpy

    Two ways to model a chemomechanical transition: macromechanical view versus statistical mechanics view – when do they apply?



    Nucleus Mechanics



    Whole nucleus properties


    Nanoscale Imaging and Modeling

    The structures of entropy partitioning

    Atomic force microscopy

    Further Considerations


    Cell-substrate Interactions


    Effect of substrate stiffness and matrix ligand on cell morphology

    Morphology: Integration of biochemical and biophysical factors

    Effect of substrate stiffness and matrix ligand on cell motility

    Motility: Integration of biochemical and biophysical factors

    Effect of substrate stiffness and matrix ligand on cell mechanics

    Cell mechanics: Integration of biochemical and biophysical factors

    Changes in substrate stiffness in disease

    Cell-Substrate Mechanics: Conclusions

    Axonal Transport and Neuromechanics


    Structural organization within the neuron

    Axonal Transport of the Cytoskeleton


    Summary and Outlook

    Implications for Disease – Valvular Fibrosis and the Myofibroblast


    The Myofibroblast

    Mechanical Regulation of Valvular Fibrosis





    Bradley E. Layton is associate professor in the Applied Computing and Engineering Technology Department and an affiliated faculty in the Biophysics and Biochemistry Program at the University of Montana, USA. He earned his PhD in biomedical engineering and MS in mechanical engineering at the University of Michigan, USA. He also holds an SB in mechanical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA, and a Professional Engineer’s license. Prof. Layton is an editor for the Institute of Electrical Engineering and Electronics and Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society, and a member of the American Society of Mechanical Engineering and the Order of the Engineer. He is an avid bicycle builder, cyclist, kayaker, and a former member of the United States National Rowing Team. He lives with his wife and two children in the Rattlesnake Valley in Missoula, Montana.