Making cells ultra heavy


The life of a fibroblast is heavy, but PhD student Julia Eckert makes it 19.5 times heavier, using the Large Diameter Centrifuge at the ESTEC space research centre in Noordwijk.

'Cells experience mechanical forces of their surroundings and sense the mechanical properties of the substrate on which they are connected', says PhD student Julia Eckert. Recently, it has become clear that these mechanical forces influence the biomolecular functioning of the cell. But how exactly, is far from understood.

This is why Eckert exposed mouse fibroblast cells to unnaturally high artificial gravity of 19.5 g, during a collaborative project between Leiden University, TU Dresden and the European Space Agency ESA. The paper has appeared on the preprint server bioRxiv.org, and is under review with Biophysical Journal. Read more