Computational Modeling of Cell Adhesion Under the Effect of Substrate Stiffness

Yuqiang Fang, Qi Gao, Ruiguo Yang, King W.C. Lai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Cell adhesion is a coordinated dynamic process that regulates cellular functions, such as cell proliferation, migration, differentiation, embryonic morphogenesis, and disease progression. In this paper, a discrete mechanical model for cell adhesion to a substrate is established to study the effect of substrate stiffness on cell spreading. The stiffness of the adhesion substrates can be tuned by adjusting the maximum adhesive forces balanced by substrates. The model provides reliable and reasonable predictions of cellular morphology during cell spreading on various substrates, as well as the subcellular stress distribution at focal adhesion sites. The model opens the possibility of investigating cell mechanical behaviors and cell functions at the subcellular level and further facilitates experimental studies where cell mechanics plays an important role in disease states.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)402-406
Number of pages5
JournalIEEE Transactions on Nanotechnology
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2018


  • Adherent cells
  • cell mechanics
  • focal adhesions
  • mechanical model
  • substrates stiffness

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Science Applications
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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