I guess I should have just waited a few days to include this in the last post.  Anyway, the manuscript “Microgel Film Dynamics Modulate Cell Adhesion Behavior” was published on line this week in the journal Soft Matter.  This is another collaboration between my group and the Garcia group, with Shalini, Mark, Jeff, and Hiro taking the lead on these studies.  In this paper, we describe how the “self-healing” properties of microgel-based multilayer thin films appear to modulate cell attachment and spreading. The hypothesis is that the viscous behavior (as opposed to the elasticity) of the film is responsible for cells failing to adhere and spread on reconfigurable interfaces. This comes about through balancing the energy required to remodel the interface with the force exerted by cells when forming focal adhesions. In principle, this is is a relevant phenomenon for tissue engineering, since the film viscosity is related to the timescale of cell spreading and proliferation and could therefore be used to further control cell phenotype and tissue remodeling.

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