Basic Rheology for Biologists

Paul A. Janmey, Penelope C. Georges, Søren Hvidt

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

73 Scopus citations


Many cellular processes lead to changes in elastic and viscous properties of cells. Rheology is the science that deals with deformation and flow of materials. Fundamental rheologic concepts are explained, and some of the main techniques are discussed. Nonperturbing oscillatory techniques are especially useful for monitoring structure formation including gelation, whereas other techniques such as steady shear flow and creep are useful for determining flow properties. Sample preparation is often a major obstacle, and advantages of different deformation geometries are discussed. Simple biological samples such as purified biopolymers can be investigated with a range of rheologic techniques, and factors affecting gelation of, for example, blood or cytoskeletal proteins can be studied in detail. More complex biological systems such as intact tissues can often only be studied with more qualitative techniques and results. With proper choice of experimental setup, rheologic techniques can give valuable information about cellular systems and dynamics on a timescale that is closely related to biological functions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationCell Mechanics
EditorsYuLi Wang, Dennis Discher
StatePublished - 2007
Externally publishedYes

Publication series

NameMethods in Cell Biology
ISSN (Print)0091-679X

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Cell Biology


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