“Soft (bio)materials characterization”

Biomechanics Core Facility (BCF)

  • The mechanical properties of materials not only control physical functions, but also a still unknown number of biological functions. At the same time, biological systems can change their own mechanical properties, as well as the mechanical properties of their environment, for example in cancer or wound healing. An important task in the engineering of novel molecular systems for biomaterial applications is to characterize the mechanical properties of biological and synthetic materials. The results can have far-reaching implications for understanding and controlling the mechanobiology of tumor microenvironments, organoids, implant materials, and of biomaterials in general.
  • The goal of the Biomechanics Core Facility is to standardize reproducible mechanical characterizations of soft (bio)materials, tissues and cells. This facility will fill a current gap in the methodological spectrum in the Flagship Initiative EMS and on the Heidelberg University campus. As biomaterials are typically viscoelastic and porous, we particularly aim at integrating methods that allow for the quantification of elastic properties (both in tension and compression), viscoelastic properties, and hardness of materials.
  • The core facility will serve as an interdisciplinary technological platform located in the new Institute for Molecular Systems Engineering and Advanced Materials (IMSEAM) building. It will be registered as an S2- GMO-facility, allowing for experiments with genetically modified and potentially infectious systems (viruses, parasites), which will make this core facility unique.
  • The Biomechanics Core Facility provides support to define the mechanical properties through several equipment: tensile test machine, rheometer, nanoindentor, etc. The BCF also offers a 3D-modelling consulting on Inventor AutoDesk or Solidworks.