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Department of Biological Engineering
Krystyn J. Van Vliet, Ph.D.

Krystyn J. Van Vliet, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Materials Science and Engineering
Jointly appointed in Biological Engineering

Research group web site

E-mail: krystyn@mit.edu
Office: 8-237
Phone: (617) 253-3315
Administrative Assistant: Ayn Inserto


Research Focus

Our group focuses on the cell-material interface, and in particular how the local chemical and mechanical states at this interface can alter biological processes from the molecular to whole-cell levels. We develop nanomechanical experiments and computational simulations to characterize new material surfaces as potential tissue surrogates, and to characterize living cell surfaces that will interact with those materials to alter cell adhesion, migration, and differentiation. Our primary experimental tools include atomic force microscopy and picoindentation customized for cell and tissue analysis, and our primary computational tools include molecular dynamics and Monte Carlo analyses of mechanically altered ligand-receptor kinetics. The overall objective of these integrated experimental and computational studies is to predict and to engineer cellular responses to chemomechanical cues at the cell-matrix interface from a materials physics perspective. This approach is distinct from but complementary to biological perspectives that elucidate complex intracellular signaling cascades.

Selected Publications

Modeling and simulation of chemomechanics at the cell-matrix interface, R Krishnan, B Oommen, E B Walton, J M Maloney, and K J Van Vliet, Cell Adhesion and Migration 2:13-24 (2008). [pdf]

Substrata mechanical stiffness can regulate adhesion of viable bacteria. J A Lichter, M T Thompson, M Delgadillo, T Nishikawa, M F Rubner, and K J Van Vliet. Biomacromolecules 9: 1571-1578 (2008). [pdf]

Extending Bell's Model: how force transducer stiffness alters measured unbinding forces and kinetics of molecular complexes. E B Walton, S Lee, and K J Van Vliet. Biophysical Journal 94: 2621-2630 (2008). [pdf]

Molecular dynamics simulation of size-dependent structural and thermal properties of polymer nanofibers. S Curgul, KJ Van Vliet, and G Rutledge. Macromolecules 40: 8483-8489 (2007). [pdf]

Chemomechanical mapping of ligand-receptor binding kinetics on cells . SY Lee, J Mandic, and KJ Van Vliet. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 104: 9609-9614 (2007). [pdf]

Weaving genetically engineered functionality into mechanically robust virus fibers . CY Chiang, CM Mello, J Gu, ECCM Silva, AM Belcher and KJ Van Vliet. Advanced Materials 19: 826-832 (2007). [pdf]

Equilibration of experimentally determined protein structures for molecular dynamics simulation . EB Walton and KJ Van Vliet. Physical Review E 74: 061901 (2006). [pdf]

Probing drug-cell interactions . KJ Van Vliet and P Hinterdorfer . Nano Today 1: 18-25 (2006). [pdf]

Biochemical functionalization of polyelectrolyte multilayers can alter mechanical compliance. MT Thompson, MC Berg, J Lichter, IS Tobias, MF Rubner and KJ Van Vliet. Biomacromolecules 7 6: 1990-1995 (2006). [pdf]

Tuning compliance of polyelectrolyte multilayers to modulate cell adhesion. MT Thompson, MC Berg, IS Tobias, MF Rubner and KJ Van Vliet. Biomaterials 26: 6836-6845 (2005). [pdf]


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