Departamento de Física

Facultad de Ciencia
Universidad de Santiago de Chile

Laboratorio de Mecánica Celular

Páginas Laboratorio de Mecánica Celular

Director laboratorio:
Roberto Bernal
Ubicación laboratorio:
Edificio API de Investigación 4to piso
(56-2)27 183 433
Email laboratorio:


Cuticle characterization

The high variability of results in uniaxial tensilemechanical test, permeability and optical properties, for samples of the same spicies, are mainly due to the heterogeneity in thickness distribution of the cellulose present in the cuticle. To address this problem, three-dimensional reconstruction of confocal planes of cuticles are used.


Biocoating and mechanical properties of Red Blood Cells

Adhesion of red blood cells onto functionalized surfaces, creates biological coatings  in a simple and extremely reproductible. During the adhesion process, we observe a "wetting" phenomena, which resembles a drop of fluid onto a solid substrate. The "wetting" process depends not only of thee surface interactions but membrane mechanical properties as well.


Lipidic membranes characterization

By using Atomic Force and Optical Microscopy techniques, we have developed an easy procedure to evaluate mechanical properties of Giant Bilayer Vesicles. With these tools, we obtain thickness values of bilayer membranes under AFM on Tapping mode. Whereas curvature fluctuation are computed from Phase Constrast microscopy imaging. Then, by tuning the osmotic pressure, elastic properties are obtained.


Cytoskeletal dynamics

The mechanical response of f-actin stress bundles of RPE-1 cells is under scope when mechanical stretch is applied. Cells are plated onto a H-like PLL-g-PEG/Fibronectin micro patterns on thin PDMS substrates and fluorescent corrected intensity images are used to obtain reliable data of the response of actin structures under mechanical solicitation.

Publicaciones del laboratorio


The roles of microtubules and membrane tension in axonal beading, retraction, and atrophy
A. Datar, J. Ameeramja, A. Bhat, R. Srivastava, A. Mishra, R. Bernal, J. Prost, A. Callan-Jones, P. A. Pullarkat
Biophysical Journal, Vol. 117(5), pp. 880 , 891


Lily Pollen Tubes Pulse According to a Simple Spatial Oscillator
M. Van Hemelryck, R. Bernal, Y. Ispolatov, J. Dumais
Scientific Reports , Vol. 8, pp. 12135
Non-Invasive Neurite Mechanics in differentiated PC12 cells
F. Gárate, M. Pertusa, Y. Arana, R. Bernal
Frontiers in Cellular Neuroscience, Vol. 12, pp. 194


A Fresh Look at Growth Oscillations in Pollen Tubes: Kinematic and Mechanistic Descriptions
M. Van Hemelryck, R. Bernal, E. R. Rojas, J. Dumais, J. H. Kroeger
Publisher: Springer, Vol. Book Chapter 14, pp. DOI: 10.1007/978-3-319-56645-0_14 369 , 389


Time-resolved neurite mechanics by thermal fluctuation assessments
F. Garate, T. Betz, M. Pertusa, R. Bernal
Physical Biology, Vol. 12(6), pp. 66020 doi:10.1088/1478-3975/12/6/066020


Elastic response and wrinkling onset of curved elastic membranes subjected to indentation test
R. Bernal, C. Tassius, F. Melo, J. Ch. Geminard
European Physical Journal E, Vol. 34(2), pp. 13


"Drag force as a tool to test the active mechanical response of PC12 neurites"
R. Bernal, F. Melo, P. A. Pullarkat
Biophysical Journal, Vol. 98, pp. 515 , 523


"Mechanical characterization of elastic membranes: Cell mechanics applications"
R. Bernal, C. Tassius, F. Melo, J. C. Geminard
Applied Physics Letters, Vol. 90, pp. 63903
"Mechanical properties of axon"
R. Bernal, P. A. Pullarkat, F. Melo
Physical Review Letters, Vol. 99, pp. 18301
The Mechanics of Tip Growth Morphogenesis: What we have learned from rubber balloons
R. Bernal, E. R. Rojas, J. Dumais
Journal of Mechanics of Materials and Structures, Vol. 2(6), pp. 1157 , 1168


"Wrinkle formations in axi-symmetrically stretched membranes"
J.Ch. Geminard, R. Bernal, F. Melo
European Physical Journal E, Vol. 15, pp. 117 , 126


Normal-Mode Vortex Interactions
R. Bernal, C. Coste, F. Lund, F. Melo
Physical Review Letters, Vol. 89(3), pp. 34501

Proyectos del Laboratorio



Neurite Mechanics and Axonal Transport
R. Bernal
Investigadores principales
R. Bernal
Número de proyecto:
Año de término:


National Standards for Shortwave radiation and for UV doses
R. Cordero
Investigadores principales
R. Bernal
Número de proyecto:
Año de término:

Anillos Científicos

Nano and Micromechanics of Soft Matter Systems
Enrique Cerda
Investigadores principales
Maritza Páez, Marcelo Kogan, Francisco Melo
Investigadores asociados
  • Roberto Bernal
  • Raúl Cordero
  • Eugenio Hamm
  • Francisco Vivanco
Número de proyecto:
Anillo Act 95
Año de término:

Fondecyt Regular

Mimic of Bone Fracture and Cellular Interaction With a Localized Stress Distribution
Roberto Bernal
Investigadores principales
Roberto Bernal
Número de proyecto:
Año de término:

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