Cell mechanics: Mechanical response, cell adhesion, and molecular deformation

Cheng Zhu, Gang Bao, Ning Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


As the basic unit of life, the cell is a biologically complex system, the understanding of which requires a combination of various approaches including biomechanics. With recent progress in cell and molecular biology, the field of cell mechanics has grown rapidly over the last few years. This review synthesizes some of these recent developments to foster new concepts and approaches, and it emphasizes molecular-level understanding. The focuses are on the common themes and interconnections in three related areas: (a) the responses of cells to mechanical forces, (b) the mechanics and kinetics of cell adhesion, and (c) the deformation of biomolecules. Specific examples are also given to illustrate the quantitative modeling used in analyzing biological processes and physiological functions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)189-226
Number of pages38
JournalAnnual Review of Biomedical Engineering
Issue number2000
StatePublished - 2000
Externally publishedYes


  • Conformational change
  • Elastic modulus
  • Kinetic rates
  • Mechanochemical transduction
  • Receptor-ligand binding
  • Viscosity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Biomedical Engineering


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