Synthetic tissues under strain (MEP)


Human connective tissues, such as skin or tendon, undergo large, repeated deformations on a day-to-day basis. If a tissue is strained too far then rupture can occur, leading to a failure of the tissues function. The primary structural component of these tissues, collagen, forms 3D networks with the capability to withstand these deformations with no compromise of its mechanical properties. 

To understand how collagen networks behave up until the point of rupture will allow us to design more intelligent materials for tissue engineering purposes. To this end we aim to simultaneously strain these networks while imaging the microscopic structure of the network. To do this we can use a home-made gel stretcher which can be placed on a confocal microscope.

In this project you will gain expertise in mechanical testing, microscopy, sample preparation and image analysis in the context of tissue-like materials.


Iain Muntz ( and Prof. Dr. Gijsje Koenderink (