Mapping 3D Neutrophil Matrix Deformations and Traction for Characterizing Cellular Dysfunction During Sepsis 
 

 

Neutrophils in collagen matrix (upper left), collagen embedded with microbeads (lower left), and deformation map projected onto neutrophil surface (right).

Neutrophils from septic patients are believed to be significantly impaired in their capacity to rid the host of infections. The purpose of this project is to understand the molecular cell mechanics of neutrophils, and how their behavior is altered during the septic disease state. A comparison of healthy and septic cells is carried out by analyzing the motion and mechanics of these cells in 3D collagen gels and on 2D hydrogel surfaces using DVC (Digital Volume Correlation). Our approach is unique in that it provides us with fundamental insight into the phenotypical behavior of these cells without the need to fluorescently label, or invasively manipulate the cell, which allows us to work with human rather than animal cells.  This project is being completed as part of an ongoing collaboration with Dr. Jonathan Reichner, Professor of Surgery (Research) at the Rhode Island Hospital.