Macro- and micro-scale probing of the mechanical properties of DNA-crosslinked gels using embedded inclusions

David C. Lin, Bernard Yurke, David I. Shreiber, Uday Chippada, Xue Jiang, George P. Watson, Noshir A. Langrana

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


Mechanical properties of a class of self-assembling hydrogels based on DNA hybridization were studied using rigid, embedded inclusions. Because inclusions can be deflected without direct contact with a manipulator (e.g., magnet) once they are embedded within the subject material, the measurement technique is well suited for monitoring instantaneous and time-varying changes in the mechanical properties of active materials as they respond to external stimuli. In gels crosslinked with complementary strands of oligonucleotides, hybridization chemistry and strand displacement mechanisms allow reversible assembly, shape change, and large changes in compliance through the application of particular strands of DNA. In earlier work using large (diameter -0.8 mm) magnetic beads, the scaling behavior of the global elastic modulus with crosslink density was determined. More recently, it was shown that a threefold increase in stiffness was possible by generating prestress in the DNA-crosslinked gel network. Currently, the gels are functionalized to support cell attachment and embedded with micro-fabricated nickel bars. Through the measurement of local elastic and shear moduli as well as Poisson's ratios, cell-substrate interactions can be used as a means of evaluating the potential of DNA-crosslinked gels as active cellular engineering substrates and tissue engineering scaffolds.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationBiomimetic Polymers and Gels
PublisherMaterials Research Society
Number of pages6
ISBN (Print)1558998527, 9781558998520
StatePublished - 2005
Event2005 MRS Fall Meeting - Boston, MA, United States
Duration: Jan 28 2005Dec 2 2005

Publication series

NameMaterials Research Society Symposium Proceedings
ISSN (Print)0272-9172


Other2005 MRS Fall Meeting
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityBoston, MA

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Materials Science(all)
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering


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