The Twistosity team consists of two PhD students from Imperial College London in the United Kingdom, and one PhD student from Technische Universität Dresden in Germany. They want to measure changes in the intracellular viscosity in live biological cells during hypergravity.
Measuring intracellular viscosity in conditions of hypergravity
|University||Imperial College London, UK; Technische Universität Dresden, Germany|
|Endorsing professor||Dr. Marina Kuimova (Imperial College London), Prof. Dr. Uwe Sommer (Technische Universität Dresden)|
|Team||Emma Woodcock, Julia Eckert, Paul Girvan|
Sensing gravity by live biological cells is a puzzling phenomenon, given their small dimensions. However, a large body of evidence exists that demonstrates that even non-specialised cells are affected by gravity. We hypothesise that one of the mechanisms for this sensitivity lies in changing the viscosity of the intracellular organelles. We will utilise an emerging method for imaging cellular viscosity based on fluorescence detection from so-called 'molecular rotors', to sense the response of cellular viscosity to conditions of hypergravity using a fluorescent microscope housed in one of the gondolas at the LDC. We will test a number of cell incubation conditions and, if time allows us to do so, a number of 'molecular rotors' and cell lines, to obtain detailed organelle specific information on the response of cellular viscosity to gravity. These experiments, if successful, will produce the first quantitative study of changing viscosity under hypergravity conditions, and as such will lay the firm foundation for mechano-biological research under unusual gravity conditions.