Magneto-mechanical system to reproduce and quantify complex strain patterns in biological materials Articles uri icon

publication date

  • June 2022

start page

  • 1

end page

  • 15


  • 101437


  • 27

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 2352-9407


  • Biological cells and tissues are continuously subjected to mechanical stress and strain cues from their surrounding substrate. How these forces modulate cell and tissue behavior is a major question in mechanobiology. To conduct studies under controlled varying physiological strain scenarios, a new virtually-assisted experimental system is proposed allowing for non-invasive and real-time control of complex deformation modes within the substrates. This approach is based on the use of extremely soft magneto-active polymers, which mimic the stiffness of biological materials. Thus, the system enables the untethered control of biological substrates providing reversible mechanical changes and controlling heterogeneous patterns. Motivated on a deep magneto-mechanical characterization across scales, a multi-physics and multi-scale in silico framework was developed to guide the experimental stimulation setup. The versatility and viability of the system have been demonstrated through its ability to reproduce complex mechanical scenarios simulating local strain patterns in brain tissue during a head impact, and its capability to transmit physiologically relevant mechanical forces to dermal fibroblasts. The proposed framework opens the way to understanding the mechanobiological processes that occur during complex and dynamic deformation states, e.g., in traumatic brain injury, pathological skin scarring or fibrotic heart remodeling during myocardial infarction.


  • Biology and Biomedicine
  • Materials science and engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Naval Engineering


  • magneto-active materials; multifunctional substrates; mechanobiology; computational modeling; biomechanical stimulation