Three-dimensional traction force microscopy of engineered epithelial tissues

Alexandra S. Piotrowski, Victor D. Varner, Nikolce Gjorevski, Celeste M. Nelson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Several biological processes, including cell migration, tissue morphogenesis, and cancer metastasis, are fundamentally physical in nature; each implicitly involves deformations driven by mechanical forces. Traction force microscopy (TFM) was initially developed to quantify the forces exerted by individual isolated cells in two-dimensional (2D) culture. Here, we extend this technique to estimate the traction forces generated by engineered three-dimensional (3D) epithelial tissues embedded within a surrounding extracellular matrix (ECM). This technique provides insight into the physical mechanisms that underlie tissue morphogenesis in 3D.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)191-206
Number of pages16
JournalMethods in Molecular Biology
StatePublished - 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Genetics
  • Molecular Biology


  • Biomechanics
  • Engineered tissue
  • Micropatterning


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